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Broadcom's New Zephyr 5000 MIPS CPU Takes on Intel
Saturday, 27 November 2010 04:07
Ramesh Senthinathan once led a Pentium team for Intel and now is responsible for Broadcom's CPUs, which are meeting competition from Intel's latest Atom for system on chip designs. The 5000 is entering production at 1.3 GHz on 40 nanometer design rules. Broadcom will race Intel and others to produce the CPU at 28 nano in the next two years. 
    Linley Gwannap's writes "Broadcom's CPU development stretches back more than 10 years, when the company shipped its first DSL chip with an internally designed CPU, now known as the BRCM 3300 core. This CPU, which the company still uses today, is quite small (less than 1mm2 in 40nm CMOS, including cache).... Broadcom later developed the BRCM 4355 CPU for higher-performance modems (e.g., VDSL) and set-top boxes."
    CPUs inside VDSL and GPON gateways are demanding processors as complicated as many PCs. 
Last Updated on Sunday, 05 December 2010 17:42
Telemedicine "Did Not Improve Outcomes"
Wednesday, 17 November 2010 19:52
New_England_JournalA large study in the New England Journal of Medicine continues the debunking of extravagant claims for telemedicine. "Among patients recently hospitalized for heart failure, telemonitoring did not improve outcomes," concludes Yale researchers. 1653 patients recently hospitalized with heart failure were enrolled in a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial led by researchers who were confident of a positive outcome. "We found no reduction in the risk of readmission
or death from any cause with telemonitoring as compared with usual care. Moreover, there were no reductions in the risk of hospitalization for heart failure, the number of days in the hospital, or the time to readmission or death. Subgroup analyses failed to identify a group for which the intervention was effective," This confirms the limited progress I reported in 2008 and 2009. Those actually working in telemedicine are tell me they are making only modest progress. This contrasts with the the deafening hype from those demanding money for broadband.
    A decade ago, it seemed reasonable to say, "Clearly, the impact of broadband by any measure--in terms of GDP, jobs, U.S. productivity, and efficiency--will be profound." Broadband is great, but U.S. unemployment is at 9.8% while GDP, productivity and efficiency growth has been dismal. The U.S. and the rest of the developed world is at 95+% availability and 70% take rates. Broadband has brought profound social changes, including how many people find their love life or their news. X-rays are being read for less in India, patients in remote facilities sometimes can see specialists, and follow-up for chronic problems certainly can be improved. 

Some more of the article's discussion:


Last Updated on Monday, 06 December 2010 04:04
Doubling Speed: A Simple Explanation
Sunday, 31 October 2010 18:25
Doubling Speed: A Simple Explanation
Noise from other lines in the binder is the great enemy of DSL performance. The 25 and more lines create interference that reduces speeds by as much as half on short loops. Monitor all the lines in real time and cancel the noise (vectoring) yields impressive improvements. That required impractical calculations when first proposed in 2004 but Moore's law means the chips have caught up.

     NokiaSiemens, ZTE and others are showing commercial prototypes. Lantiq, Broadcom, and Ikanos have working chips. A carrier tells me he has two boards in his lab that work, although he's skeptical they'll be ready to deploy until 2012-3. Nearly every new DSLAM in a few years will supporting vectoring.

    Good stuff, important progress, but no carrier in the world has committed to upgrade existing deployments. The FTTN/DSL hybrids with new neighborhood terminals will see 25 meg improve to 40-50 meg, and 10 meg improve to probably 15. Perhaps 10% of DSL lines in 2017 will be in that category. For the other 300M DSL homes, vectoring will not matter. New DSLAMs or at least line cards will be required but that's unlikely to happen.  Beyond a few hundred meters, the effect is much less. Most homes are more than a thousand meters away.

My Verizon DSL will probably be little faster in five years than it is today. Which is too damned slow.
Last Updated on Saturday, 10 September 2011 13:13
900 Megabits? Doubled Speed? Separating the Hype and Reality
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 18:43

Don't_Believe_the_HypeReal products will double speeds for some homes served by new gear. Some of the promotion has gone too far and confused people. Your DSL line at home will not run at 400, 700, 825, or 900 megabits. Only the fraction of people within a few hundred meters will get the 50 and 100 megabits. Speeds will drop off very rapidly with distance and the improvement for most people will be far less.

    That said, millions of homes in Germany, Britain, Switzerland and possibly the U.S. that will be served by newly installed terminals in 2012-3 will be able to run much faster.

What's Real:

  • 30-100% increase is speed, primarily at shorter distances. Many homes will be able to get 50 and 100 meg downstream.

  • Carriers are testing boards in their labs and tell me the results are good.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 15:22
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
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
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
$12M to Celano to Say Goodbye to Wires
Saturday, 27 November 2010 03:24

Celeno_promoLiberty Global is so confident Celeno can eliminate wireless carrying TV around the home they are investing in the company. Bruce Dines of Liberty sees advanced wireless as the  "cornerstone for delivering video throughout the home and it will be a key component in our multimedia home gateways,"

    Celeno is an early leader in beam-forming antenna and smart adaptive WiFi. I've written before about the skepticism about wireless for IPTV based on earlier unfulfilled promises. The carrier endorsements are encouraging, however, and I'm hopeful the field results prove out. 

Last Updated on Saturday, 27 November 2010 07:11
Dado Invests $5M More in Ikanos
Monday, 15 November 2010 23:03
dado2Dado Banatao's Tallwood Capital invested an additional $5M in Ikanos, signifying  their committment to growing the company. Through Needham and Company, they also raised another $5M from public investors. Dado bought the old Ikanos for $42M last year, combined it with the DSL division of Conexant and had high hopes. Tough competition for Chinese customers and declining ADSL sales resulted in 20% layoffs a few months ago.
      With VDSL bonding and improved DSM well along, with vectoring on the way, Tallwood has decided to increase their investment and provide financial strength for the company.
Last Updated on Sunday, 21 November 2010 15:54
Ruth Milkman's (Implicit) Promise: Affordable Broadband, Somehow
Friday, 29 October 2010 12:02
Ruth MilkmanThe FCC claims "affordable broadband is its single highest priority." So I didn't expect Ruth Milkman to turn down the M2Z wireless proposal. It would have provided free wireless Internet to perhaps a million kids at no likely cost to the government. M2Z promised to combine John Doerr's money, Milo Medin's engineering and John Muleta's DC experience with flexible time payments on currently unused 2155-2180 MHz spectrum. M2Z would build a new network covering 95% of the U.S. that provided free service at 768K as part of its license terms. Read More
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 16:26
Cisco VNI Traffic Report: Are We Getting Bored With Porn
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 16:17

Porn in retreat? None of the top 50 sites are adult, although much of the p2p certainly is. There's some fascinating data in the latest version, which is worth a careful reading. http://bit.ly/9QecSx Some key findings:

  • "Contrary to popular belief, none of the top 50 global web sites (by traffic volume) featured explicit adult content." That wasn't true two years ago.
  • "The average broadband connection generates 14.9 GB of Internet traffic per month, up from 11.4 GB per
    month last year, an increase of 31 percent." Slightly less than predicted. Traffic growth rates have been trending down for years but remain large.
  • "In an average day, Internet "prime time" ranges from approximately 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. around the world." Not long ago, noon and 5 p.m. had the highest peaks in U.S. traffic. People at work spent a few minutes watching YouTube.
Upstream data in North America has gone down from 31% of traffic to 23% since 2007 as peer-to-peer becomes less important. The charts are worth a look.
Last Updated on Saturday, 18 December 2010 15:00
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
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
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
Caps, Contracts Unpopular Confirmed by 15,000 Data Points
Friday, 19 November 2010 14:01
D.C. economist Scott Wallsten found that people won't pay as much for plans withStop_the_Cap!_image caps or contracts. Companies have to lower prices in his model by 15%-25% to get customers to accept caps, he finds. Scott and James Riso put an enormous amount of work into developing the dataset. They started with the Point-Topic database and then added information they needed that wasn't included. 
    Saying people don't like caps, throttling, and lock-ins may seem as obvious as predicting that the sun will rise in the east. But I've never seen a careful estimate of what they'll pay. The price difference between plans is much larger than the cost difference of the additional bandwidth required. The cost difference of near-unlimited plans is far less than 5% at most of the large, wired carriers that serve the majority of broadband customers. Wallsten's data imply that the pricing discrimination is far more than the cost differences require. 
      The policy implications are clear to me.  Policymakers should normally assume that imposing caps generally results in negative consumer welfare. The small efficiency gains don't come close to making up for a second rate Internet.
Last Updated on Friday, 19 November 2010 23:54
Post of CenturyTel: "Fred Upton Will Save Us"
Saturday, 13 November 2010 01:08
Fred-UptonMichigan Republican Fred Upton is fighting to head the House Energy and Commerce Committee overseeing the FCC. Glen Post of Century told me Upton would block a previous FCC effort to reduce subsidies to companies like his. "Don't worry," he told me at an investor conference when I got a minute for questions. "Fred Upton will save us." FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy had identified massive overspending and was leading a charge to reduce it.
     Post choosing Upton as his savior surprised me. Upton was then a relatively obscure Michigan Republican Congressman. The action was in the Senate, not the House. (Ultimately, the FCC proposals lost by two votes.) Upton had received strong support from the Bells, who wanted to eliminate ICC subsidies because they received much less than the companies like Century, designated rural. I didn't know why Post thought his ties to Upton were so much stronger than AT&T/SBC or Verizon. T was his largest single contributor in 2004 at $25,000 direct, VZ the third largest at $15,000. (Thanks, Center for Responsive Politics.)
     Upton has a reputation as a "moderate" Republican although on telecom issues I can't recall him ever opposing corporate interests. His chief opponent, Joe Barton, is described as "an attack dog" by Princeton's Julian Zelizer (Politico) and is typically a strong corporate mouthpiece. The third possibility, Cliff Stearns, is similar in point of view but has earned my respect by going after waste. 
      Abernathy fought a good fight to cut subsidies to companies like Century and Frontier. She is now a VP at Frontier, a job worth about $1M/year.

Last Updated on Monday, 15 November 2010 21:42
Who's the Biggest: Alcatel 300 meg, Huawei 700, NokiaSiemens 825, Alcatel 900?
Wednesday, 27 October 2010 03:14
  • April, Alcatel delivered 300 meg a short 400 meters over two pair.
  • September, Huawei used 4 wires and 700 meg http://bit.ly/9pgoBD
  • Monday this week, NokiaSiemens announced 825 meg
  • Tuesday, Alcatel was claiming 900 meg over 4 wires (LR)

All of these units are essentially the same. Here's how the magic is done.
1)      Start with one of today's VDSL chips capable of 100 megabits over a short distance.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 November 2010 15:21
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
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
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
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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