02/07/2011

Skype brings video calling to Android

Skype has announced that Skype for Android 2.0 now supports video calling which will work with Skype for iPhone, Mac and Windows. Video will work both over WiFi and 3G.

Support for handsets include the HTC Desire S, Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, Sony Ericsson, Xperia pro and the Google Nexus S.

Facebook are going to announce a 'major new service' next week and it's rumoured that Facebook video calling will be based on Skype (though the rumour is recent, Skype has been working with Facebook for some time and precedes the Microsoft acquisition). The video calling will be in browser, though it's not clear whether the user has to have the Skype client installed too. This should give Skype a major boost as Facebook has 750m users compared to Skype's 170m (active), it should also help Facebook and Microsoft head off Google's voice service.

29/06/2011

Alcatel-Lucent develops 400Gb/s processor

This isn't a normal CPU that comes in a general purpose computer, but a network
compute engine and 400Gb/s is high speed. As mobile data and Internet data incre
ase the core backbones have to support more and more traffic.
LAN speeds have been increasing over the years and while a few years back everybody was happy with 10Mb/s Ethernet, now home (wired) LANs are 100Mb/s or even 1000Mb/s (1Gb/s).

At the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) they have to cope with much higher speeds and LANs might run at 10Gb/s or even 40Gb/s and very shortly 100Gb/s (the 100Gb/s standard was only ratified last year and it takes a while for vendors to produce equipment based on the standards). The next speed increase takes the LAN up to 400Gb/s.

It's all very well running high speed LANs but they need to connect to other things (just like a home router with multiple LAN connections) and the equipment needs high speed network processors to be able to move data around and work out where it should be going in real-time.

Traditionally the high speed core router market has been dominated by Cisco followed by Juniper and more recent Huawei from China. This now put Alcatel-Lucent back in the race for providing the next generation of Internet systems.

Alcatel-Lucent's processor is known as the FP3 and can handle 70,000 simultaneous HD video streams or 8.4m cloud sessions and it's these types of services which are expanding rapidly and the core networks need to stay ahead of consumer demand.

Ofcom simplifies Spectrum Trading

Ofcom today has published a statement on simplifying spectrum trading which includes sub-leasing and other enhancements.

Currently Ofcom tend to be heavily involved in the process of trading, now a licensee does not need the consent of Ofcom to trade their spectrum, though some bands such as 2G and 3G bands are still covered by existing requirements.

Ofcom is also allowing leasing and sub-leasing if spectrum so if a licensee has excess capacity they may lease part of their spectrum to a 3rd party, now that 3rd party may also sub-lease part of their spectrum (though the originating licensee must keep accurate records of all sub-leases.

This should allow new innovative services to be launched as there's a lot of spectrum that's been licensed and not being used efficiently.

28/06/2011

Microsoft makes more from patent licensing than WP7 licenses

Microsoft (MS) has a huge patent portfolio and a lot related to mobile technologies used in mobile operating systems such as Android and others.

It recently added General Dynamics Itronix division (who make ruggedised systems running both Windows and Android), though a small player it is going after companies like this to show that it may be better to license Windows Phone 7 (WP7) rather than use Android and pay MS patent license fees.

MS has already reached agreement with large companies such as HTC (one of the largest manufacturer's of smartphones again running Android and WP7) and has lawsuits against Motorola and Barns and Noble.

It is thought MS are trying to destabilise Google's mobile power base and get manufacturers to use WP7 as it's protected against any other kind of licensing in terms of intellectual property.

It's alleged that Microsoft make more money from Android IP royalties than they do from WP7 licenses - so though they'd like more vendors to adopt WP7, they're winning on both sides.

Ofcom mandates battery back-up for FTTP services

Ofcom the super regulator that covers media, broadcast and telecoms is holding a 10 week consultation about proposals that operators of FTTP (fibre-to-the premises) must provide battery back-up for the service which is located in the premise. This is to ensure that phone calls can still be made during a power cut (and thus still provide access to the emergency services) which is a condition of the Communications Act (General Condition 3).

The initial idea was to mandate 4 hours battery back-up which has now been reduced to 1 hour as the majority of power cuts in the UK are less than 1 hour. 1 hour back-up also means smaller batteries that are easier to obtain, install and recycle and are more likely to be accepted by consumers.

Ofcom does recognise that some premises will require longer back-up times, but these will be examined on a case by case basis.

The Ofcom summary is available here and the consultation closes on 10 Sept 2011.