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The new WLAN controller LANCOM WLC-4100, from LANCOM Systems, provides automated configuration and central management of up to 1,000 WLAN access points in a single device. The standard WLC-4100 supports up to 100 access points; optional licenses extend this to even higher numbers. This scalability is said to make the WLC-4100 an economical and flexible solution for medium-sized to very large wireless LANs.

Automatic configuration, channel selection and monitoring of security

All of the settings are entered just once into a central profile in the WLAN controller, with straightforward Plug & Play. New access points are detected automatically and, once securely identified by digital signature, they are integrated into the network. The configuration settings required for optimised wireless network operations, such as the channel settings and security policies, are automatically transferred to all of the access points. The WLAN controller also constantly monitors the system's function, including background scanning.

802.11n performance, failsafe system resilience, and cross-site wireless LAN management included

Like previous LANCOM WLAN controllers, the LANCOM WLC-4100 is based on smart-controller architecture that enables the separation of management and payload data.

Depending on the application or even the user, LANCOM WLAN controllers can forward the data in different ways; this may be direct bridging to the LAN, separation from the LAN into a dedicated VLAN for WLAN guest accounts, or tunnelling to the controller for Voice-over-WLAN overlay networks. This is an invaluable feature for multi-service environments.

There is another advantage from the break-out of payload data: Even at high data rates, e.g. in 802.11n networks, the WLC-4100 provide maximum performance, minimum latency times, and it enables highly effective load balancing. 

Even cross-site wireless networks based on LANCOM access points and WLAN routers located at remote sites can be centrally managed and monitored - a simple IP connection is the only requirement.

A further element of the LANCOM Smart Controller design is its unique high-availability concept. Unlike most WLAN switches and controllers, the WLC-4100 enables its managed access points to continue operating in standalone mode, even if the connection fails. This means that the wireless LAN remains available to its clients. Another option is to collect multiple controllers into a cluster, which provides automatic load balancing.

"The WLC-4100 is the high-performance machine in our range of smart controllers," explains Frank Janssen, WLAN Product Manager at LANCOM Systems. "It's just plain impressive to see how 1,000 access points with 3,000 associated clients are managed, and how a change in configuration activates on all of the access points within seconds."

SwissQual, the independent Swiss network quality measurement company, has carried out drive testing on the new TeliaSonera LTE network in Stockholm. The measurements were made using the Samsung Kalmia LTE 4G modem mounted in the SwissQual Diversity Optimizer platform. The Diversity Optimizer, in common with all of the probes in the SwissQual Evolution range, is said to have been designed to easily integrate new handsets and modems for emerging technologies such as LTE.

The drive test is said to have collected very interesting measurement results from the new TeliaSonera 4G data service.   Downlink data throughputs up to 47 Mbps and TCP latency as low as 20 ms were recorded.   This is approximately 5 times better than the performance typically seen in 3G HSPA+ networks, says SwissQual.

Says Magnus Hylen, SwissQual Product Manager commented:  "The Diversity Optimizer measurement probe has long been recognised for ease of integration and use with a multitude of measurement devices and interfaces including the scanner which we use for LTE testing.  Configuring the Optimizer for the new Samsung Kalmia LTE modem took just a matter of minutes before measurements could be started. By using the Swedish Internet Infrastructure Foundation's server to test data download and upload, we can be sure that there were no bottlenecks in the IP connection.   This is crucial for accurate and reliable throughput assessment, especially at the speeds we now see with LTE.   Naturally LTE is in its infancy.   This meant that we saw regular disconnects and modem restarts.   However, this is something we have experienced with all new mobile technologies during the early phases of the rollout.    Apart from these issues, the performance that we have recorded is really impressive and sets a new baseline for mobile high speed data services."

SwissQual already provides a Voice over IP testing solution. Together with the Samsung LTE modem this allows SwissQual to provide a complete solution for LTE 4G, testing both data and voice services.

Said John May, SwissQual's CEO:  "SwissQual offers the perfect solution for determining VoIP quality over LTE networks. The SQuad algorithm was designed from the very beginning to provide a true measure of quality in VoIP applications. With LTE we expect the emergence of VoIP implementations using a much wider range of smart coding and processing capabilities including wide band. With our most recent version of SQuad, an ITU-T P.OLQA candidate, we are offering a solution that is already well proven for this new technology."

COLT, the European provider of business communications, today announced it is providing IP connectivity to support MeetingZone's audio conferencing facilities in the UK and Europe. As the UK's largest independent conference and collaboration service provider, MeetingZone will be adding COLT's SIP Trunking service, COLT VoIP Access, to its audio conferencing services in order to deliver high quality, scalable voice services whilst keeping network and bridging costs to a minimum.

While line quality and availability is crucial in a conference call environment, market demand for conferencing services is said to be continuing to grow rapidly. MeetingZone has selected COLT to deliver a scalable VoIP solution that can handle this growth in business, whilst maintaining the quality, availability and reliability which its customers expect. 

Steve Gandy, chief operating officer, MeetingZone said, "It is important to our strategy that we continue to outperform the market growth rates with a quality service at the right price. We are always looking for ways to be more efficient, but without compromising quality and business-grade VoIP can help us do that. In the conference calling environment, users do not tolerate service failure as they might with public VoIP services.

"We chose COLT as they could deliver a complete VoIP solution, which worked with our bespoke call management software and delivered the service experience and other benefits we required," Gandy added. "Looking to the future, COLT's European footprint was also an important factor as it means they can easily support MeetingZone's expansion into the rest of Europe. Over time we also hope to offer different connection options to our customers - such as direct IP connections to our services."

Rob Jupp, head of SME Division at COLT UK, added, "Voice is still the most significant communication tool we use each day and with travel budgets being slashed and many companies taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, the use of conferencing facilities is on the up. Business-grade services, such as COLT VoIP Access, can help conferencing providers meet market demand for quality, lower cost and more flexible solutions. We expect many providers will be following MeetingZone's lead in the next year." 

COLT VoIP Access allows businesses to converge their voice and data networks and route all telephone calls via an IP network and a single access connection. This provides a lower total cost of ownership, improved flexibility in call management and business continuity. By providing a more flexible and effective approach to convergence, COLT VoIP Access helps customers leverage their investment in IP PBX infrastructure and provides a flexible roadmap for unified communications.

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) confirmed today that 2,137 HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) user devices have been launched in the market by 214 manufacturers. The figure includes several new products which were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas earlier this month.

According to the latest HSPA Devices survey published today by GSA, 861 new devices were launched on the market in the past year alone, representing growth of over 67% year on year (YoY). The number of suppliers grew in the same period by more than 30%, from 164 to 214 companies.

There are 897 HSPA-enabled mobile phones including smartphones, with 382 new products launched since January 2009, representing 74.1% YoY growth. The number of HSPA-enabled notebooks grew by almost 52% in the same period. Twenty two HSPA femtocell products and 8 HSPA-enabled Ebook readers have been launched.

Support for higher data speeds is a major trend in mobile broadband networks and devices. According to related GSA surveys, more than 96% of WCDMA networks have deployed HSPA, with the majority (over 52%) supporting a peak downlink data capability of 7.2 Mbps or higher. The majority of HSPA devices
(51%) also support a peak downlink data speed of 7.2 Mbps or higher. With 22% of HSPA network operators committed to HSPA Evolution (HSPA+), GSA confirms that 32 HSPA+ devices are launched by 11 suppliers for peak data speeds up to 21, 28 and 42 Mbps (depending on the specific model).

Support for higher uplink speeds has significantly increased, with 493 HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) devices now launched, an increase of 156% YoY.  219 HSUPA devices (over 44%) support or are upgradeable for, 5.76 Mbps peak operation, compared to 64 devices in January 2009.

Excluding notebooks and Ebook readers, 529 HSPA devices (31%) incorporate WiFi, which is over 83% growth YoY. 491 HSPA devices (29%) incorporate GPS or A-GPS, an increase of more than 112% YoY, and 188 HSPA devices support mobile TV, covering various standards.

Most WCDMA-HSPA mobile broadband networks operate in the 3G/2100 MHz band, except in the Americas where HSPA systems typically operate in the 1900 and 850 MHz bands. Deploying HSPA in lower bands (below 1 GHz) gives a much larger coverage area and a significant reduction in cell sites needed, compared to 2100 MHz, saving OPEX and CAPEX. Several operators are now deploying HSPA in the 900 MHz band (UMTS900), typically as a complement to 2100 MHz systems, to extend voice, data and mobile broadband services coverage to rural areas; voice quality is also improved. Indeed, UMTS900 is becoming standard for devices destined for Europe, MEA, and APAC markets.

Excluding notebooks and Ebook readers, 15% of HSPA devices support UMTS900.

Similar benefits/efficiencies are obtained when HSPA is deployed in the 850 MHz band, as in the Americas, Australia, and Asia, for which there is a well established eco-system including several hundred user devices. Support for the AWS band (1700/2100 MHz) has also improved considerably.

RAD Data Communications has unveiled the Vmux-2120, a scalable, fully redundant carrier-class voice trunking and 3G media gateway for DCME applications that provides compressed voice transmission over TDM and IP networks.

Designed to significantly reduce satellite and microwave bandwidth consumption and lower leased line expenses, the Vmux-2120 employs powerful DCME voice compression algorithms as well as RAD's patented TDMoIP pseudowire technology to compress up to 16 full E1/T1 circuits over a single E1/T1 or IP uplink. According to RAD, this guarantees optimal bandwidth utilization while maintaining toll quality voice, lowering both operating (OpEx) and capital expenses (CapEx). At the same time, all legacy services and signaling are maintained. The Vmux-2120 also features link protection, so that it can transmit over a channelized TDM or IP link while employing a second TDM or IP link as a back up.

Cellular operators can use the Vmux-2120 to eliminate expensive leased lines between MSCs or between MSCs and the PSTN by leveraging existing 2G backbone segments while introducing 3G Next Generation MSCs. This avoids needless 2G forklifts in order to support 3G services. The platform is fully interoperable with Next Generation MSCs and softswitches.

Satellite connections, international telecom providers, financial services, and call centers can use the Vmux-2120 to reduce the number of transmission lines they lease. Disaster recovery solution providers, moreover, can use the Vmux-2120 to save on expensive satellite and microwave bandwidth.

"The Vmux-2120 represents the next generation of our Vmux DCME product line, which has been deployed with great success worldwide," notes Ido Miran, Product Line Manager at RAD Data Communications. "Working opposite RAD's Gmux-2000 central-site pseudowire access gateway, the Vmux-2120 constitutes a total solution that offers 16:1 voice compression with excellent voice quality while providing a smooth migration path to Next Generation networking."

New research is said to have found that annual revenues from cloud-based mobile applications will reach nearly $9.5 billion by 2014, fuelled by the need for converged, collaborative services, the widespread adoption of mobile broadband services and the deployment of key technological enablers such as HTML5 and the Open Mobile Alliance's Smart Card Web Server (SCWS).

The Juniper Research report found that enterprise applications will account for the majority of revenues over the next five years, with businesses increasingly seeking to capitalise on the ability of Platform as a Service (PaaS) providers to offer scalable, flexible data storage solutions allied to device agnostic, synchronised office services. However, consumer-oriented apps will comprise an ever-larger proportion of total revenues, derived both from time-based subscriptions to services such as mobile online gaming and advertising from cloud-based social networks.

However, the mobile cloud applications & services report warned that many enterprise customers still remained wary of entrusting their personal data to remote third-parties, and that recent high-profile data losses amongst corporate mobile users in the USA would only exacerbate these concerns. According to report author Dr Windsor Holden, "Not only is it imperative for cloud providers to ensure that access to and storage of customer data is secure, but that the procedures that they put in place in this regard - including data backup strategies - are transparent to the customer."

Other findings from the Juniper report include:

  • While the onset of a cloud-based ecosystem may further erode the strength of the mobile operator/customer relationship, cloud offers operators the opportunity to develop new revenues streams as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and PaaS providers
  • Lack of network capacity may continue to be a constraint on the growth of network-based services even after LTE and WiMAX networks are deployed

Shipments of smartphones grew 15% year over year in 2009, marking one of the few positive trends in what was otherwise a difficult year for the mobile handset industry, according to a new study from IMS Research.

The growth in the smartphone segment stands in stark contrast to an estimated contraction of 7.9% in total handset shipments for the year. That disparity highlights an evolving trend in consumer preference, according to IMS Research analyst, Chris Schreck. "Last year validated the idea that the target market for smartphones is expanding rapidly. Increasingly, consumers who purchase a new handset are choosing a smartphone. The notion that smartphones are exclusively luxury purchases or enterprise tools is rapidly giving way to a perception of smartphones as a device with mass market appeal." This phenomenon proved especially true in North America and Western Europe, where smartphone shipment growth was strong despite grim expectations reported at the outset of 2009.

There are a number of market dynamics that contributed to the resilience of the smartphone segment. "The effort from handset OEMs to broaden the appeal of their smartphone portfolio and expanded offerings from mobile content suppliers resulted in an incredible level of innovation in 2009, particularly in the smartphone space," continued Schreck. "Between Android's increased market presence, faster processor speeds, more advanced displays, and increasingly sophisticated user interfaces, the gap between many of 2009's devices and those released in the previous year was noticeably vast. There were a number of devices in 2009 that proved difficult for consumers to pass up. And for their part, mobile network operators helped fuel smartphone growth with competitive subsidies and aggressively priced data plans."

Smartphone shipment growth is expected to accelerate in the future, with IMS Research projecting a CAGR of 24.5% between 2010 and 2015. Much of this growth is forecast to come at the expense of the feature phone segment, as the average selling price for entry level smartphones approaches the same levels as high end feature phones.

Polystar OSIX, a supplier of Service Assurance and Network Performance Monitoring solutions based in Sweden, has announced that it has been selected by MTN Cyprus, one of the largest telecommunications providers in Cyprus, to supply network-wide integrated monitoring system, ensuring end-to-end quality of service across legacy and next generation UMTS technologies.

Polystar says its solutions will satisfy MTN's need for 'sophisticated' roaming Mmanagement and provide a comprehensive in-depth view of service quality. It will enable a real-time visibility of all roaming activities inside and outside MTN`s network and help MTN to identify weak spots in the network, allowing quick resolutions of roaming QoS issues, says Polystar.

Network and Service Assurance solutions will provide MTN with the end-to-end real-time network surveillance, comprehensive statistical and alarming tools, as well as troubleshooting capabilities. Jupiter's 4D visualisation techniques (Crystallizer module) grant users an instant access to performance information for voice, messaging and data services from customer and network perspectives. It will, in addition, enable MTN to apply a new and efficient method of prioritisation, not previously available in the telecommunications industry.

Commenting on the deal, the CTO of MTN Cyprus, Cosmas Adam, said: "Polystar was the clear choice because of the high performance of its Service Assurance product portfolio and the ability to cover multiple network technologies. Real-time end-to-end monitoring of our GSM and UMTS networks is an essential element in delivering best possible service quality to our customers. With the Polystar Roaming Management application, we are confident in our ability to track all subscribers` inbound and outbound roaming activities and manage roaming partners SLAs. All these will consequently lead to improved service quality and maximised revenue streams, generated by the high value roamers."

"Polystar is proud to count MTN Cyprus as one of its esteemed customers," said Detlef Ott, Business Region Director at Polystar. "Our innovative and customer tailored solutions will strengthen MTN`s solid position on the market and consolidate its standing as a pioneering provider offering continuous reliable mobile communication access to the customers."

According to new research from Informa Telecoms & Media, global fixed-broadband subscription numbers will reach half a billion this year, driven by continued growth in emerging markets. Although the fixed-broadband markets of the wealthiest countries in the world are fast becoming saturated, tens of millions of homes in some of the world's largest markets, such as China and India, are still without broadband. These underserved markets are poised to drive a second wave of broadband growth, creating opportunities for operators, investors and equipment vendors, says Informa.

"Overall the number of net new fixed-broadband subscriptions grew in 2009 to over 480 million, largely as a result of accelerating growth in emerging markets and we expect this number to reach 500 million this year. China, Russia, Mexico, India and Vietnam were among the countries that recorded the greatest leaps in fixed-broadband subscription numbers last year," comments Rob Gallagher, Principal Analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media and Lead Author of the Next 100 Million report.

"China extended its lead over the US, and Russia overtook Italy to claim the No. 8 spot. India, Mexico, Turkey, the Ukraine and Vietnam look set to also grow strongly, provided that current trends continue," he adds.

Latest figures indicate that seven of the top 20 countries by fixed-broadband subscription count at the end of September 2009 could be classified as emerging markets (see table below). The number of net additions in each of these countries was up substantially year-on-year, while those of the world's largest developed markets were either flat or down.

"Given that about four out of five households do not have broadband in these markets, there is still much room for growth. We forecast that these underserved markets will contribute the bulk of the next 100 million subscriptions by 2014.  This represents a major opportunity. Already we have seen that most of the world's fastest-growing operators were based in underpenetrated emerging markets," concludes Gallagher.

All regions recorded increases in fixed-broadband household penetration of between three and five percentage points in the first half of 2009, bar Africa, because of problems such as poor fixed-line infrastructure and low income levels. Many of the fastest-growing markets relative to their size were in the Middle East, despite high levels of fixed-broadband household penetration.

Global, countries by fixed-broadband subscriptions, end September 09

   Rank               Country            Subscriptions
      1                      China              91,348,000 
      2                        US                 82,846,600 
      3                      Japan              31,240,000 
      4                    Germany           25,114,300 
      5                     France              19,306,400 
      6                       UK                  18,033,300 
      7                     Korea               16,238,262 
      8                     Russia              12,356,100 
      9                       Italy               12,116,350 
      10                    Brazil              10,951,600 
      11                   Spain                9,681,520 
      12                 Canada               9,562,000 
      13                 Mexico                8,771,100 
      14                  India                  7,653,460 
      15             Netherlands            6,274,000 
      16                Turkey                 6,166,800 
      17                Australia              5,968,000 
      18                 Poland                5,654,100 
      19                 Taiwan                5,549,440 
      20                Argentina             3,543,800 

Wi-Fi technology specialist Ruckus Wireless today announced that it will make its first appearance at the GSMA Mobile World Congress to outline its 3G/Wi-Fi internetworking reference architecture with mobile carriers and broadband operators.

According to Ruckus, renewed interest in Wi-Fi is exploding as mobile carriers look for more reliable and cost-effective methods to increase the coverage, capacity and reliability of their mobile infrastructures.  Offloading 3G traffic onto smarter Wi-Fi infrastructure is one near-term application driving this interest.

Wi-Fi solutions for 3G offload must provide subscribers a seamless and transparent experience while minimising the cost and complexity of internetworking infrastructure.  Given the fundamental differences between WLAN and 3GPP architectures, whether HSPA or LTE EPC, it is important to design and implement a network extension that is scalable and provides for no compromises in the user experience.

Ruckus says that its ability to bring unprecedented gains in coverage, capacity and reliability to carrier Wi-Fi applications has been well proven through its shipment of more than two million units to date.  The company's recently-announced entry into wireless broadband access is supporting a growing number of large-scale broadband connectivity projects.  Ruckus is now using its core Smart Wi-Fi radio access network technology to help mobile operators address growing capacity issues driven by smart phone data usage.

Through Ruckus' collaboration with leading operators in large commercial hotspot-network implementations and proof of concept trials of advanced 3G/Wi-Fi roaming functionality, the company says it has developed a new reference architecture that solves issues facing mobile operators in deploying hybrid 3G and Wi-Fi networks.

By moving intelligence to the edge of the access network where it can scale, limiting UE incursion to simple configuration push, and using standard 3GPP control interfaces, Ruckus has arrived at a flexible, lightweight and scalable internetworking design the company expects to be of significant interest to additional mobile operators attending the MWC event.

"Huge changes in user behaviour driven by the new generation of UE designs are clearly outstripping the capacity of mobile networks in several markets, and this problem will only get worse," said Steven Glapa, director of carrier business development for Ruckus Wireless.  "We have a number of operator engagements underway to tap the rapid pain relief offered by the low cost structure and simplicity of Wi-Fi, in combination with an internetworking approach designed for snap-fit into W-CDMA/HSPA and LTE networks."

New data from TeleGeography is said to show that the growth of international telephone traffic has slowed, while Skype's growth has accelerated. Over the past 25 years, international call volume from telephones has grown at a compounded annual rate of 15%. In the past two years, however, international telephone traffic growth has slowed to only 8 percent, growing from 376 billion minutes in 2008 to an estimated 406 billion minutes in 2009.

The deep recession has had a clear impact on many routes. "Demand for international voice has been remarkably robust, but it's clearly not recession-proof," said TeleGeography analyst Stephan Beckert. Traffic to Mexico, the world's largest calling destination, declined 4 percent in 2008, and aggregate traffic to Central America declined 5 percent.

While international telephone traffic growth has slowed, Skype's traffic has soared. Skype's on-net international traffic (between two Skype users) grew 51 percent in 2008, and is projected to grow 63 percent in 2009, to 54 billion minutes. "The volume of traffic routed via Skype is tremendous," said Beckert.

"Skype is now the largest provider of cross border communications in the world, by far. The proliferation of alternatives to telephone calls-including Skype for mobile devices, and Google's gradual entry into the voice market-will present ever greater challenges to international carriers.

A new report from Tariff Consultancy Ltd (TCL) is said to highlight the effects of the European Commission's roaming price cap from 2007 to 2010. Voice and SMS roaming rates in Europe have halved over this period, with very few prices applied below the cap. EU mobile roaming data rates are on average 5.4 euro, 5 times the 1 Euro per MB wholesale rate though individual operator data roaming rates vary from below the wholesale cap to more than 10 times the cap rate, says TCL.

"A main constraint on roaming usage is the lack of awareness by users," comments Margrit Sessions, MD of TCL; "In our survey over the 3-year period since 2007, it is striking how little unregulated roaming services pricing has declined," says Sessions. "The user can end up paying ten times more for communication when outside the EU".

TCL says it has identified some 90% of European mobile operators have chosen to position their EU voice roaming tariff close to the cap, which is acting as the de facto price standard.

A characteristic of the introduction of the EU roaming cap has been the change in roaming pricing to other regions outside of the European Union, it says. Operators have sought to offset the revenue limiting effects of the EU roaming cap by rebalancing roaming tariffs outside the EU. Some operators have altered the geographical zones which has resulted in higher prices for roamers in countries in particular countries such as Norway, Switzerland, the USA and Asia Pacific that were before in the EU zone.

Increasingly though, says TCL, mobile operators push a series of separate "opt in" roaming bundles for consumers that bypass the EU roaming cap which offer roaming discounts in return for a weekly or monthly fee to selected holiday destinations but can attract higher rates to EU countries than the EC rate cap.

The net effect of the rebalancing of mobile roaming tariffs outside of the EU has been to make roaming services to the US or other countries relatively expensive by comparison with the EU, says TCL.

For example:

- The price of a roaming voice call from the EU zone to the next geographical tariff zone has an average mark up of 200%

- The price of SMS roaming outside the EU zone to the next geographical zone has an average mark up of 160%.