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A new report published today by Juniper Research forecasts that, the combined revenues from apps funded by pay-per-download (PPD), value-added services (VAS, including freemium and subscription) and advertising is expected to rise from just under $10 billion in 2009 to $32 billion in 2015.

However, says Juniper, while Apple's App Store has achieved app downloads on an unprecedented scale - 4 billion by April 2010 - the report cautions brands and developers against ignoring users of other platforms/handsets. According to Juniper, such a move could be counterproductive, particularly in developing markets, where the user base of iPhones (and indeed smartphones per se) is extremely low.

"If the mobile industry wishes to introduce a model based on applications, then it must ensure that those applications are accessible by a wide range of handsets ranging from smartphones to mass market devices," said report author, Dr Windsor Holden.

Furthermore, uplift in download volumes does not necessarily equate to an uplift in industry revenues. The majority of application downloads from the App Store are free; other storefronts launched in the wake of the App Store also report that comparatively small proportions of apps (typically 5-15%) are paid for. Thus, building a business model aimed at both maximizing consumer adoption of applications and at maximizing content revenues can be extremely problematic.

The mobile app stores report finds that an app store-centric model presents a number of challenges, including:

  • The Need for Scale
  • Monetising the Mass Market
  • App Store Overload
  • The Content Legacy


Zinwave, a specialist in next-generation in-building cellular and wireless technology, today announced that its True Wideband Active Distributed Antenna System (DAS) solution is the first on the market receive Long Term Evolution (LTE) certification across the full 700 MHz spectrum band from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Zinwave says it provides the industry's only True Wideband Active DAS solution which removes many of the traditional challenges associated with delivering multiple RF services in buildings. It provides simultaneous support for any number or combination of cellular and other wireless services between 136MHz and 2.7GHz using one single layer of hardware, enabling the addition of new services on demand without the need for costly and disruptive upgrades.

"Achieving this important LTE milestone reinforces Zinwave's technology leadership and sets us on a clear path to capitalise on near-term LTE network deployments," said Jeffery L. Fuller, President of Zinwave Americas.  "With FCC certification, we can help wireless operators accelerate the roll-out of LTE networks and provide ubiquitous wireless coverage inside buildings for multiple simultaneous services and technologies."

Zinwave's patented technology is said to provide a future-proof investment for wireless operators, by allowing them to deploy in-building DAS solutions today on existing 3G/Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) networks, with a simple evolutionary path to 4G/LTE in the future.

The Broadband Forum, the global consortium of approximately 200 leading telecommunications service providers, network equipment manufacturers and software companies providing broadband solutions around the world, has today announced a comprehensive range of initiatives aimed at empowering next generation access solutions in a variety of technologies, including ADSL2plus, VDSL2 and GPON.

Speaking at the FTTx Summit in London, Robin Mersh, COO of the Broadband Forum, highlighted the extension of the Broadband Forum's testing and conformance efforts, encouraging the evolution of access technologies.  The work includes:

  a.. Recent enhancements to the ADSL2plus functionality test plan (TR-105 Corrigendum 2)
  b.. Introduction of the new VDSL2 test suite (TR-114/TR-115 and TR-138)
  c.. Development of a new Vectoring best practices white paper (MD-257)
  d.. Recently added GPON interoperability abstract test development and testing being performed in conjunction with Full Service Access Network (FSAN).  This work includes ongoing Plugfest events, open to all FSAN and Broadband Forum equipment and chipset vendors.
  e.. Additional fiber-related work is also moving forward addressing EPON

Another new area of the Broadband Forum's work includes specifications addressing end-to-end architecture evolution requirements. With a focus on establishing the global bar for multi-service architectures, a body of work has been launched to help service providers migrate to a more flexible, IP and MPLS-based mesh network approach aimed at facilitating efficient and cost effective delivery of multimedia services, assuring new levels of excellence in end-user quality of experience.   This pending release will be based on TR-144 "Broadband Multi-Service Architecture & Framework Requirements" and anchored by key work in progress, such as WT-145 "Broadband Architecture Requirements" and WT-223 "Requirements for MPLS over Aggregated Interfaces".  A new white paper associated with this work is also in development titled "Unified MPLS: Enabling next generation transport and services using MPLS-TP".

"Our role is to ensure that the industry has all the specifications and tools it needs to optimize networks, advance interoperability, and ultimately to capture the full potential of broadband worldwide," says Robin Mersh, COO of the Broadband Forum. "These new initiatives and joint efforts will provide those tools needed to expedite the migration to the next generation broadband network."

ASC, a provider of solutions to record, analyze and evaluate communications, today announced certification for connection to the EADS TETRA Network of its integrated communications recording solution, Marathon Evolution.

The certification was provided after a thorough testing at the TETRA Application Test Center in Helsinki, Finland. TETRA, an interoperability standard for professional mobile radio communications, was delineated by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to allow interaction among professional mobile radio equipment from multiple vendors. Its flexible digital addressing helps diverse organizations communicate during emergency situations.  

The efficient handling of emergency calls is crucial for an effective response. ASC's communications platform provides secure recording, as well as fast and efficient playback, of all voice and data communications, including VoIP, trunked radio and analog or digital technology, with a single scaleable recording system. 

ASC's Marathon Evolution records both, individual and group calls as well as short data services (SDS) within a TETRA network. The system provides fail-safe operation and redundancy through a mirrored hard disk. ID and time stamps are tagged to each recording to facilitate analysis of incidents and provide protection from liability.

The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has published an update to its Evolution to LTE report which confirms 110 operators in 48 countries are currently investing in LTE networks.

80 operators have made firm commitments to deploy LTE networks in 33 countries (compared to 64 network commitments identified two months ago). LTE networks are now being installed or planned for commercial service in Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, The Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, UAE, USA, and Uzbekistan.

GSA anticipates that up to 22 LTE networks will be in service by end 2010, and at least 45 are expected to be in service by end 2012. The first LTE networks entered commercial service in December 2009 in Norway and Sweden.

The Evolution to LTE report confirms there are an additional 30 pre-commitment pilot LTE networks, technology trials and studies in 15 more countries.

Governments in Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands have all completed auctions of spectrum in recent weeks including 2.6 GHz, which is targeted for LTE systems. Germany has also completed Europe's first auction of 800 MHz (digital dividend) spectrum in which the winning operators also plan to deploy LTE systems. Further auctions of spectrum suitable for LTE are anticipated in the coming months.

LTE is the natural evolutionary step for GSM/WCDMA-HSPA operators and many leading CDMA operators around the world. A leading WiMAX operator has also recently announced the company has decided to shift to LTE.

Alan Hadden, President, GSA said: "The success of recent LTE systems launches, newly completed spectrum auctions in 2.6 GHz and 800 MHz bands, and the continuing strong upsurge in mobile broadband worldwide are combining to produce the huge momentum for LTE we see right now. LTE is essential to take mobile broadband to the mass market".

The GSA report notes that in addition to the well established commitment to new 2.6 GHz and digital dividend spectrum (800 MHz in Europe, 700 MHz in the Americas) for LTE, a number of operators are considering deploying LTE in the 1800 MHz band, which may typically provide the necessary amount of bandwidth to fully exploit the potential of LTE systems.

The eco-system for LTE is now rapidly establishing. LTE dongles which are also compatible with legacy 2G/3G systems including WCDMA-HSPA are expected to be introduced into the market shortly and a number of smartphones are anticipated to be launched in the next 6 - 12 months.

Telmap, a specialist in mobile location solutions, providing white-label, fully hosted and managed search, mapping and navigation solutions to mobile operators, today announced the first commercial launch of Telmap5 Mobile Location Companion together with Pelephone, Israeli specialist in cellular communication.

Telmap5, a solution for location based services, is the world's first personalized location companion, accompanying users throughout their on-the-go experience, going beyond in-car and pedestrian navigation. The solution will be known to Pelephone users as "Navigator GPS+".

Navigator GPS+ features several new content layers, enabling users to search for and access up-to-date information from a variety of content providers. Content layers integrations are server-based and can be easily expanded and modified, allowing the addition of endless sources of content without the need to update the client application. Another way for Navigator GPS+ users to explore their surroundings is through Telmap5's unique widgets carousel that includes a rich library of useful location-enabled widgets for quick and focused access to nearby information.

Some of the new features and content integrations included in Navigator GPS+ include:

  a.. WOZZON - a local event guide for extensive events information
  b.. Rest - Israel's leading restaurant guide
  c.. Golden Pages - Israel's local yellow pages directory
  d.. Pango widget - allowing in-application, one-click payment for parking through Israel's most popular cellular parking service
  e.. Traffic on map - presenting in-the-vicinity traffic loads (color-coded for heavy, medium, and light traffic conditions) right on the map
  f.. Hebrew-spoken street names as part of voice instructions -optimizing user experience

Navigator PGS+ is launched across a broad portfolio of devices using a wide range of operating systems such as BlackBerry, Symbian and Java. The service is included in several of Pelephone's tariff plans and is also available through a monthly subscription option.

"Pelephone is an innovative operator who fully understands the power of location-based services, and successfully leverages it for differentiation, increased customer loyalty and generation of new revenue streams. We are sure that this launch will provide Pelephone users with an upgraded, unique and comprehensive experience serving all their on-the-go needs", says Oren Nissim, Telmap CEO.

"GPS Navigator is one of Pelephone's most growing and successful services. The launch is a result of a lot of hard work over many months, leveraging the accumulated experience of both companies in defining customer needs while on-the-go", says Ziv Kessleman, Head of Products and Value Added Services, Pelephone. "GPS Navigator+ will enable Pelephone to constantly add new content and widgets; and these will be automatically updated on users' devices. In addition the user experience is now much more interactive, and encourages daily use of the service. GPS Navigator+ also includes a web interface, allowing address search on the Pelephone website and sending the results directly to the user's device or to other subscribers. We expect that Telmap's GPS Navigator + will help us achieve the very important milestone: half a million subscribers, by the end of the year", added Kesselman.

Empirix, a specialist in service quality assurance solutions for new IP communications, today announced it has acquired privately held Mutina Technology, an Italy-based provider of monitoring surveillance and analysis technologies for Mobile Broadband (MBB), Next Generation Networks (NGN), SS7/Sigtran Signaling, VoD/IPTV, and IP Core for Telecom and Enterprise Networks. The acquisition of Mutina strategically expands Empirix's product line for the monitoring of mobile networks and extends the company's presence in EMEA and Asia Pacific.

The acquisition of Mutina enables Empirix to offer quad play providers a service assurance solution that offers a full end-to-end view of their networks. The merging of these technologies results in a single application for the analysis of control, user and data transmission plane information.  The combination of Empirix's Hammer XMS solution for IMS, VoIP and SS7 networks with the IPXPlorer system from Mutina delivers solutions for mobile broadband, video and data.  In addition, Mutina's hand-held device will enable technicians to bring the combination of these technologies out into the field to provide real-time service quality.  Currently, Mutina's portfolio is available as standalone products and work to tightly integrate these offerings into Empirix's Hammer XMS platform is underway.

Empirix and Mutina bring a common architectural approach to the monitoring challenges of mobile and fixed networks. Both companies deploy software and custom hardware designed for high bandwidth IP with the flexibility of supporting legacy SS7/C7 signalling. The combined technology offers hardware platforms capable of monitoring up to 40GB of traffic per probe, providing real time analysis of IP services, user payload and network impairments.

"As service providers move quickly towards LTE networks, there is a need to monitor increasingly large amounts of voice, video, and data across all access networks," said John D'Anna, CEO of Empirix. "The acquisition of Mutina strengthens Empirix's position in the global service assurance market serving converged service providers.  It allows us to expand our leadership position in the North America NGN monitoring market into the rest of the world as well as the mobile voice and data markets.  Now, only Empirix can offer this high bandwidth, comprehensive view all within a single platform, giving customers the benefits of ease-of-use, lowered costs and faster time-to-market as they scale their services. In addition to solidifying our position in the mobile marketplace, the acquisition of Mutina also firmly establishes Empirix as a leading presence in EMEA and Asia Pacific."

"Empirix is recognised as one of the most innovative players in the service assurance market," said Franco Messori, president of Mutina Technologies. "Combining Empirix's Hammer technology with Mutina's IP core that is extended to mobile broadband and legacy SS7 technology, and VoD/IPTV enhances Empirix's offerings to global service providers and partners."

In addition to products that can be embedded into networks, service providers are also demanding solutions that can be used on the road. Mutina designs and manufactures portable hand-held protocol and service analysers. For example, the IPXPlorer One and Two are the first portable 10GE, 1GE, and legacy interfaces able to capture and analyse in real-time giga-Ethernet traffic in a less than 3 KG package. The hand-held platform will enable technicians to bring Empirix's technology into the field for service assurance and troubleshooting.

The Hammer XMS solution gives operators the ability to introduce and monitor multiple IP-based elements and services. End-to-end correlation between TDM and IP domains is provided for mobile softswitches, helping carriers assure the quality of service over SIP-based trunks to the PSTN. Femto cell launches will go more smoothly as carriers will have the ability to monitor the quality of voice as traffic from femtocell is carried over the broadband network. Carriers can then assure a smooth integration of femtocell-based sessions into the core mobile network. Additionally, carriers will be able to more effectively enforce SLAs with lower cost IP interconnect partners.

The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Research into three sectors within the telecoms software market says revenue in the network management systems segment declined heavily in 2009 while service fulfilment revenue grew by a higher-than-expected rate.

It was a tough year for many in the telecoms equipment and services market in 2009, but the telecoms software sector fared better than most thanks to a number of positive factors, according to a new research from Analysys Mason.

But fortunes varied within the different segments of this sector: for example, service fulfilment revenue increased by 2.8% to US$2.2 billion last year, but revenue in the network management systems segment declined by 8% to US$4.3 billion, which was a larger decline than had been expected.

Revenue from service assurance software, meanwhile, grew by a modest 1% to US$2.3 billion last year.

The fact that revenue growth was achieved in at least two of the segments was due to factors such as the growth in IP traffic, the transition to convergent IP-based networks and increasing opportunities in growth markets, said senior analyst Glen Ragoonanan, principal analyst Mark H. Mortensen and research director Patrick Kelly in a research note.

"The market for service fulfilment was better than expected, NMS was worse than anticipated and service assurance was more or less neutral during 2009," the analysts said. "It should be noted, however, that NMS generates almost as much revenue as the other two market segments combined."

Revenue increased more in the service fulfilment segment than in some other areas of BSS/OSS because of its perceived relationship to revenue generation, the analysts commented. They noted that growth in the market was driven by the transition to optical/packet technology, the push towards the instant availability of complex service bundles, and the increasing desire to meet the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

"Communications service providers (CSPs) were understandably wary of large transformation projects, given the economic environment," the analysts noted. "However, they still undertook department-sized transformation projects - particularly those that provided integrated inventory solutions. Service fulfilment projects continue to be attractive during a recession because they increase revenue opportunities."

The network management systems market was less fortunate, however: revenue in this segment is primarily influenced by equipment spending, which declined by a much faster rate in 2009 than was anticipated as communications service providers cut capex.

"The recession had the greatest impact on North America and Western Europe - the larger NMS markets in terms of revenue generation," the analysts observed. "China's Tier 1 CSPs were the driving force behind NMS revenue in the Asia-Pacific region. Growth markets enjoyed greater sales activity, but this had little impact on NMS market revenue overall because of the lower GDP in those markets," they added.

Revenue development in the service assurance market remained neutral, on the other hand, as large suppliers won more business in 2009 at the expense of smaller niche vendors.

"This reflects CSPs' aversion to purchasing solutions from smaller suppliers in a weak economic environment," the analysts said.

The main activity here was in areas such as mobile broadband, as operators invested in mobile backhaul monitoring solutions to guarantee service-level agreements between wholesale and mobile operators.

Analysys Mason noted that operators are increasing their focus on the customer experience, which in turn is leading to "more integrated solutions in session trace analysis for mobile broadband and fixed IP services, unified radio and core network fault and performance management, and application-aware network performance monitoring and root cause analysis".

Redknee, a provider of business-critical billing and charging software and solutions for communications service providers, is advising operators to review how they are providing transparent billing as regulatory attention and the evolution towards 3G networks and beyond begins to pick up pace.

The role that greater transparency and subscriber control has on preventing bill shock and driving data revenues will be discussed at next week's Billing & OSS World Conference and Expo and is detailed in a position paper ‘Eliminate Shock - Know Your Subscribers'.

The urgency for greater transparency and subscriber control in the wireless industry is twofold, says Redknee: regulatory action and the growing momentum of the evolution to and beyond 3G networks.

Today, operators in the European Union (EU) are already in the process of providing a higher degree of communication and transparency to their data roaming customers. And further afield, the issue of bill shock is increasingly going under the microscope by regulatory authorities including in the US, where the industry is currently being called upon to discuss how it can protect subscribers with similar notification and cut-off mechanisms that have been instigated in the EU. Redknee says it is expected that numerous other authorities will quickly follow suit, particularly following a survey conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which demonstrated the extent of the problem by finding that one in six mobile users has experienced bill shock related to a sudden increase in their monthly bill without any significant changes to their service. 

In addition to providing the mechanisms to eliminate bill shock, Redknee is advising that transparent billing and enhanced subscriber controls will enable operators to effectively and quickly drive data revenue as they roll out their 3G networks and continue to evolve. It has been estimated by the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) that while 41 HSPA+ networks were commercially launched prior to February 2010, by the end of 2010 more than 100 HSPA+ networks are expected to be in service, bringing with them more advanced services and also added complexity for the consumer.

Redknee concludes that to capitalize on the high growth of these data services it is imperative to create an environment of real-time systems for subscriber and service management to successfully support a business model that enhances the subscriber experience, drives data services adoption and the monetization of 3rd party applications and services. Value can, therefore, be derived by having true visibility of the subscriber's behavior, spending and communication in order to deliver a contextually relevant service to their subscribers and also create the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell services.

Lucas Skoczkowski, Redknee's chief executive commented: "The provision of greater transparency and control to their subscribers not only eliminates bill shock but also contributes towards increasing the customer experience, drive data revenues and enables operators to retain value when they interact with their customers.  Redknee has been supporting operators in tier 1 markets, including those in the European Union, to protect their customers from bill shock and to launch transformational business models that increase revenue and drive profitability. At Redknee, we continue to invest in real-time monetization solutions to support the growth of mobile data and content for wireless subscribers around the world."

Viatel, a business communications specialist, has announced that it has installed a managed MPLS VPN for Marie Stopes International (MSI), a not-for-profit sexual and reproductive health organisation, in partnership with IP Solutions.  The new data network effectively connects MSI's 14 UK sites, including the head office in London, a support centre in Bristol and 12 clinics up and down the country.  Since installing the Viatel solution, Marie Stopes is said to have seen a 70 percent reduction in monthly running costs when compared to the previous BT network - a saving of £440,000 over the next five years - and expects to see a return on investment within 11 months.

Marie Stopes relies on a centralised booking system to set up appointments for all clinics, but the previous solution simply did not provide adequate bandwidth to support this since all internet access was routed via the organisation's head office.  The outcome was that sometimes bookings were not entered into the system properly, often resulting in missed or double booked appointments - both of which caused headaches for staff at the clinics.  This, coupled with the expense involved in running the old network, meant MSI was on the look-out for a new centrally managed solution that could effectively provide reliable and consistent bandwidth across all locations.

MSI consulted with IP Solutions which provided quotes for upgrading the existing network, and for brand new solutions from Viatel and two other vendors.  Marie Stopes chose the Viatel MPLS VPN because it was the most cost-effective solution and provided the desired level of flexibility and scalability to fit in with MSI's planned growth over the coming years.  All internet traffic is now centralised from the Viatel core, freeing up bandwidth for the various clinics and ensuring the booking system works as efficiently as possible.  Furthermore, MSI can easily add new locations to the network as and when needed with a simple ADSL connection.  This is key given that in addition to its own clinics, the organisation also provides services from GP's surgeries around the UK.

"Having a high quality data network is paramount to servicing our nationwide clinic, as well as the offices in London and Bristol," said Tim Ozmen, head of IT operations at Marie Stopes.  "This need has become more essential due to the introduction of several new applications placing additional strains on available bandwidth.  With the Viatel solution, we now have considerably more bandwidth at all locations ensuring that all applications are accessible by all users at any location."

Just a couple of months before the planned installation, MSI informed IP Solutions and Viatel that it was relocating its head office.  As part of this move, the organisation also planned to bring all of its servers in-house so that it was no longer reliant on an outsourced data centre - presenting potentially tricky configuration issues and adding a new dimension to the project.  IP Solutions and Viatel worked quickly to accommodate Marie Stopes' new requirements and the whole project was rolled out as planned, on time and in budget.

The actual deployment took place over a four week period during which both the previous BT network and the Viatel network were running simultaneously.  This gradual handover was important to Marie Stopes as its IT team were already working on a number of other key projects at the same time and were severely stretched.  The extra time gave key MSI IT staff the time needed to check all locations were fully functioning before shutting down the old network - without the burden of having to do this all at once.  Furthermore, with centralised management, the IT team can monitor and troubleshoot the entire network from one location - freeing up time previously spent on administration.

"An overhaul of the system was needed with particular focus on minimising disruption while keeping the main offices and clinics online," said Keith Purves, sales director at IP Solutions.  "Working with Viatel on this project, we were able to offer the best pricing and service delivery, working flexibly to meet the needs of the customer and to ensure a seamless transition."

IP Solutions also recommended that Marie Stopes deploy Viatel's WebControl and Managed Firewall services.  This not only enables MSI to set central policies for internet use across all 14 UK locations, it also means the organisation can add international sites to the network securely.  In addition to its UK presence, Marie Stopes operates further centres in 41 other countries.  At present, these sites are not connected to the central UK network, but the plan is for them all to connect over the internet in the future.  A pilot for this project has been successfully undertaken with the Dublin office now cost-effectively and securely part of the central MPLS network.

"Marie Stopes has effectively overcome its network management challenges to ensure the organisation runs to its maximum potential," said Michael Davies, head of product management at Viatel.  "The organisation has also taken the wise decision to invest in a network that not only meets its needs today, but that will also enable it to grow in the future.  Considering these potential future requirements up front is key to getting the best ROI and also to ensuring the solution matches the organisation in question's specific needs without extra investment further down the line."

Roamware, a global specialist in mobile roaming software and solutions, has introduced its Roaming Intelligence System (RIS), providing telecom operators with a suite of network analytics services enabling insight into roaming market opportunities on the inbound and outbound roaming revenue streams.

The RIS solution gathers data on inbound market share, enabling companies to measure their market share of inbound roaming from their respective roaming partners and utilize this intelligence, in negotiating preferred roaming relationships and  Inter-Operator Tariffs (IOTs). The system also enables operators to identify coverage issues in their own network resulting in loss of roamers enabling them to proactively address coverage gaps and plug revenue leakage.  Additionally, the system provides actionable insight on traffic steering initiatives of their roaming partners, competing networks in their own territory and the effectiveness of their own steering tool in directing their roaming customers on to preferred networks.

"RIS provides mobile operators 360 degree view of their business with valuable real time data points on their roaming business which can be leveraged to maximize their revenue in the marketplace," said John Jiang, CTO and EVP of Product Management of Roamware. "This data can then be converted into actionable intelligence that can positively impact an operator's market share, overall roaming revenues, service quality and operator roaming partnerships"

RIS is being currently deployed in several networks across Europe, Latin America, Middle East and Asia Pacific. 

Ruckus Wireless today announced that Malvern Showground has standardised on the company's dual-band 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi technology to build a permanent outdoor wireless network to cover its entire 90 acre site in Worcestershire, UK.  The showground is home to the Three Counties Agricultural Society and attracts more than a million visitors every year, with 90,000 people expected to attend its flagship Three Counties Show which will be held  this month. 

The Ruckus network will support improved communications and public wireless broadband access, extending the showground's range of connectivity services and enabling it to compete for business with indoor event venues and conference centres. The solution was deployed by Ruckus partner, event and specialist IT services company, Etherlive.

According to Gartner, the smartphone market grew by 24 percent in 2009 alone.  This, coupled with the increasing use of Wi-Fi enabled devices at events, such as CCTV cameras and VoIP handsets, means that anytime, anywhere wireless access is increasingly in demand at all venues - both indoor and outdoor.  The Ruckus Wi-Fi network is said to be the first of its kind to be deployed across a showground site in the UK, and will support a number of applications including public broadband internet access, commercial PDQ point of sale devices, a CCTV camera network, organiser voice communications and site wide organiser access to the Three Counties electronic scoring system.

"With Wi-Fi the connection technology of choice both for the public and exhibitors, providing secure, reliable, wireless access to email, phone lines and wireless payment systems is no longer a luxury - it's a must," said Nick Vincent, CEO at the Malvern Showground.  "In the past, we simply weren't able to compete with the range of services on offer in large indoor venues.  Now, with the Ruckus technology, we're finally in a position to provide all our visitors with the level of connectivity and communications they expect. What's more, we can better equip our exhibitors and staff with mobile devices like chip and pin machines and VoIP handsets which will help them communicate out on the showground as effectively as they would in an office."

Previously, Malvern Showground relied on a wired network of fixed BT lines which ran to all of its entry gates.  Excess cabling detracted from the natural beauty of the site and the solution did not deliver the flexibility required, says Ruckus.

In contrast, the Ruckus says its Wi-Fi network allows exhibitors to move freely around the site with their Wi-Fi enabled devices such as point-of-sale machines - enabling them to re-assign their staff to the areas they're needed most as conditions change throughout the day.  The new network also makes it easier for security officials to better monitor the CCTV system at the showground.  Because the Ruckus access points (APs) mesh automatically, staff can easily add new cameras as soon as they identify an area that needs additional coverage.  A remote access option also enables owners and staff to log into the system even when they're not on site.   So if a fire alarm goes off for example, they can immediately access live camera footage from wherever they are and assess the situation quickly.

"The dual-band Ruckus solution is the only outdoor 11n product we've come across that can reliably support this vast number of concurrent users over such a large area at a truly cost-effective price," said Tom McInerney, events director for Etherlive.  "When you're outdoors, any number of things can interfere with the wireless signal because the environment is constantly changing.  The Ruckus kit overcomes this problem with an intelligent mesh code that adapts automatically to choose the best path and best access point, redirecting signals as issues occur, and thereby avoiding any interference before it can cause problems.  This of course has massive user benefits in terms of the time it takes to deploy and run a network of this size too, since we can trust the network to essentially run itself with minimal management."

During initial consultations with Etherlive, Malvern Showground specified that the new permanent wireless network must be capable of supporting critical applications without the risk of network failure.  Etherlive advised the showground to deploy the Ruckus 802.11n system because it was the only centrally-managed concurrent 2.4/5GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi solution capable of delivering a reliable signal at range across such a vast outdoor environment.  In addition, by combining advanced beamforming with sophisticated smart meshing technology, the Ruckus solution is able to deliver a robust, wide-ranging signal at the same or lower cost than existing 802.11g outdoor products.  As well as the Ruckus Wireless technology, Etherlive has also developed a power management system with redundant 48 hour battery backup which ensures the network keeps running should on site power or generators fail.

The deployment consists of 13 Ruckus dual-band 802.11n Smart Wi-Fi APs and a centralised ZoneDirector 1000 Smart WLAN controller.  The APs are housed in specially designed, weather-proofed PODs on telegraph poles and building corners across the site.  Now in the final phase of implementation, the network can be scaled as usage increases, and has also been securely partitioned to provide a public wireless network for visitors and exhibitors which is chargeable, and a private network linked to the Three Counties corporate LAN providing access to their network from anywhere on the site. The networks are protected with separate SSIDs.

"Outdoor Wi-Fi has always been notoriously unreliable - the slightest gust of wind or even a van getting in the way of the signal would be all it took to disrupt connectivity," said Jim Calderbank, director of enterprise sales EMEA at Ruckus Wireless.  "Our outdoor solution solves this problem, giving venues like the Malvern Showground the ability to deliver wireless connectivity that's on a par with that of any first class indoor venue - this is going to be key to helping them to attract more customers and visitors and drive revenue year on year."

International managed hosting provider, PEER 1 Hosting, today announced the launch of a scalable cloud storage product for web hosting customers, enabled by EMC Atmos.

Built on the EMC Atmos storage platform, the new offering provides customers with flexible, pay-as-you-go online storage for data files and rich media from 12p per Gigabyte per month. Customers can upload, store and manage unlimited data through a control panel or via the standards compliant Application Programming Interface (API) - the web-based interface for file management and application deployment.

Existing PEER 1 Hosting and ServerBeach customers adopting this cloud storage product will benefit from free bandwidth for data transfer to and from servers and storage through the globally load balanced, highly redundant SuperNetwork 10 Gigabyte backbone, plus FirstCall Support providing a unified cloud solution with one support team.

Dominic Monkhouse, UK Managing Director at PEER 1 Hosting said, "APIs have enabled organisations to create an open architecture for sharing content and data between communities and applications. In this way, content that is created in one place can be dynamically posted and updated in multiple locations on the web and, in the case of our product, stored in locations of their choice. Add to this the access our customers have to free bandwidth on the PEER 1 SuperNetwork and the opportunities cloud storage presents over and above its competitors are clear."

Continuing on the benefits, Monkhouse, concludes: "Customers want universally accessible storage, but they also want to stay in control of their data and choose where they can store it as well as setting the levels of redundancy.  The cloud storage product is engineered to overachieve against all of these requirements within a single solution and to offer customers the PEER 1 service guarantee on top. This product is another example of PEER 1 Hosting's commitment to delivering hosting services based on best-of-breed technology to our customers at the best price."

Mentum, a wireless access and backhaul network planning and optimisation company, today announced the completion of its acquisition of Ascom's network planning business. The acquisition includes the TEMS CellPlanner and TEMS LinkPlanner product lines, intellectual property, customer contracts, member staff, equipment and office located in Kista, Sweden.

With the acquisition, initially announced on April 16, Mentum has assumed all of Ascom's product-related commitments and will honour the currently committed TEMS CellPlanner and TEMS LinkPlanner roadmap and will continue to sell and support the products. Ascom's network planning unit and Kista office location will be seamlessly incorporated into Mentum's core business.

"The addition of TEMS CellPlanner and TEMS LinkPlanner to our family of products enables us to bring together some of the strongest solutions and competencies in the market space. Ascom customers will benefit from the breadth and depth of our solutions, our commitment to unsurpassed quality and our renowned R&D and world-class technologies that have led to our strong leadership position in the network planning industry," commented Bernard Breton, Chief Operating and Strategy Officer at Mentum.