Sprint's Dualmode Wimax Gadget

December 18th, 2008

Sprint is supposedly about to start selling a dualmode WiMax/CDMA modem, which means it will use 4G WiMax if it can find it, and CDMA everywhere else.  Right now, that's just Baltimore of course, but the WiMax cities should expand quickly through 2009 as Clearwire builds out.  I have to say it:  I want one of these gadgets.  It's just that I don't live in Baltimore, so I'll have to wait a bit. [Read more →]

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Internet Ranking Trends at Renesys

December 18th, 2008

Today Earl Zmijewski at Renesys posted a fantastic article about the trends in IP backbone rankings this year.  Looking at the top 13 networks, he discusses the trends and events behind the changes in rankings over the course of 2008.  He quite properly notes that the raw ranking itself is not that meaningful, it's not something we can translate into profitability or revenue growth.  But the relative movement does tell us things of interest.  [Read more →]

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Overture Acquires Ceterus

December 17th, 2008

The entire telecom equipment sector may be digging in for a long winter, but that doesn't mean it is dead.  Yesterday there was M&A activity as Overture Networks announced the acquisition of Ceterus Networks.  Since both companies are private they haven't told us any of the financial details, however given that Wall Street isn't handing out much money these days it was probably a stock deal.  And as deals go, this one makes some sense. [Read more →]

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Major New IE Flaw Discovered

December 17th, 2008

Security sites around the internet are telling people to avoid using IE due to a major new security flaw.  As for me, I use Firefox with Opera and Safari as my main backups and have avoided IE for years.  In fact, sometimes I think I ought to put one of those disclaimers on this blog:  "This website is best viewed in Firefox" because when I make changes I often forget to check whether they look ok in Internet Explorer. [Read more →]

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Abovenet Launches Video Offering

December 16th, 2008

Once again poking its head above the waters, abvt today launched a new video offering aimed at content producers.  Called jabNET, the service enables members of its community to move content around during the production process at high speed.

Abovenet's move follows a similar offering from [Read more →]

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Level 3 Does the Refi Two-Step

December 16th, 2008

Last month, internet backbone provider Level 3 Communications (LVLT) announced a refinancing initiative in which the company would sell $400M of new 15% convertible notes and tender for its 2009 and 2010 debt, but the cash being raised was conditional on some 50% of the debt to be tendered.  The credit crisis forced the company and its backers to take action, and they did - but there was a wide range of possible outcomes, with one of the most commonly voice being that they would get nothing and go back to the drawing board.  Well, not quite.

They didn't make it to that 50% by the deadline, so they just adjusted the offer. And you can see that the terms of the offer were very fungible, Level 3 and its backers probably intended from the very beginning [Read more →]

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Google's Fast Lane

December 15th, 2008

In a WSJ article Sunday,  it was revealed that Google (GOOG)  is seeking to place servers in ISP networks, to give itself a fast lane.  The blogosphere quickly attacked them for abandoning net neutrality of course, and Google quickly responded with an explanation that boils down to the fact that they are building their own CDN just like Akamai, Limelight, etc - more detail on DataCenterKnowledge Really, it's no big surprise to anyone who has been following the sector,  everyone wants to build a CDN.  But it does tie into my other post this morning on the evolution of the internet to incorporate CDNs.  Put simply, just how many content providers can fit servers in every ISP's closet next to Akamai's before it becomes a really stupid solution? [Read more →]

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Ramblings on the Internet in the Era of the CDN

December 15th, 2008

I have been mulling over the recent moves by Velocix and the general trends in content delivery over the internet, and I can't help but think that we are entering a transition period in how the internet is structured.   We already have network providers looking to enter the CDN business, and although each is taking a different track they are all talking about CDN services becoming an integral part of the internet rather than an over-the-top service.

In the current era, an ISP connected to the internet by a) peering with some networks, and b) buying transit from the rest.  End of story, all else is elaboration on the tradeoffs between peering and transit and the associated soap operas.  However, [Read more →]

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Pacnet Declares Its Hunger

December 13th, 2008

In an article on Bloomberg, Pacific telecom and undersea-cable operator Pacnet made some noise. As noted on this blog, Pacnet has been increasingly aggressive lately and has been rumored to be on the M&A trail with a bid for AAPT. It turns out that the interest there was real, CEO Bill Barney admitted strong interest in buying the company, although he said no bid had been made.

Barney went further though, with this bit [Read more →]

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Level 3 and Limelight Patent Fight Update

December 13th, 2008

In Level 3's (LVLT) CDN patent infringement lawsuit against Limelight (LLNW), the judge yesterday released the Markman ruling.  Reader Eric S very kindly sent me a copy, so I just spent the last half hour reading legalese.  A Markman hearing is about defining the terms to be used to describe the scope of the patents in question.  The plaintiff, of course, tries to keep the scope wide, and the defendent tries [Read more →]

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Alcatel-Lucent To Cut Workforce Too

December 12th, 2008

Today, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU, news, filings) announced they would cut another 1000 jobs plus an additional 5000 contractors in an effort to save just under $1B in operating costs.  According to some this will be done through attrition rather than layoffs, but it's somewhat hard to see in this economy.  Less jobs available, more people applying to them, everyone's savings in the toilet, and the company already in the midst [Read more →]

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Ciena Misfires Again

December 11th, 2008

Telecom equipment provider Ciena (CIEN) reported earnings today , and let's just say things could be better.  We knew their fiscal Q4 would be ugly, back in September they guided toward revenue of $190-210M, down some 25% from Q3.  The actual number, $179.7M, was well below that range.  As one might expect with such a 29% sequential revenue decrease, earnings swung from income of $11.7M in the third quarter to a loss of $25.4M.  Guidance for fiscal Q1 of $170-185M was not particularly encouraging either.

But then we knew it was going to be [Read more →]

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Verizon Wireless Raises $17B, Gets FTC Clearance

December 11th, 2008

Apparently the capital markets aren't completely locked up.  If you're big enough and generate enough cashflow, you can still raise good money.  Today, Verizon Wireless received commitments for some $17B from a group of 8 banks.  It will use the money for the Alltel acquisition, mainly to refinance the debt I guess.   It wasn't long ago that there wasn't even short term paper available, so this crack in the door of the credit markets is a good sign.  Of course, they didn't tell us the interest rate and the size of the deal may have sucked all the remaining oxygen [Read more →]

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Congress Unhappy With Kevin Martin's FCC

December 10th, 2008

A report from the Commerce and Energy Committe of the US House of Representatives is none too fond of how FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has been running things.  Amongst other things, he is accused of manipulating and cherry-picking evidence, being heavy handed and non-transparent, allowing undue political influence, causing distrust and turmoil amongst his fellow commissioners,  and generally creating a 'culture of fear'.    [Read more →]

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TW Telecom Tackles Tulsa

December 10th, 2008

To borrow and mangle a phrase, Tulsa built it and TW Telecom came.  According to an article in Tulsa World, the city took advantage of other construction in 2007 to install 4.5 miles of downtown conduit that reaches 85% of businesses in the area - something I wish happened more often.  Sensing an opportunity, competitive fiberoptic network operator TW Telecom (TWTC) has leased space in the conduit system and seems to have entered the Tulsa metro fiber market in force.   It's not entirely a surprise, while the company hasn't been very public about their intentions, they have been known to be hiring personnel in Tulsa.  What wasn't clear was whether [Read more →]

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Ciena Demos Single Wave 100G

December 9th, 2008

Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN, news, filings) announced today that they successfully demonstrated a 100Gbit/s connection at the SC08 show a week or two ago, informally joining a rapidly growing 100G club.  As expected, much was made of the single wavelength, and indeed this was a great achievement!  The industry as a whole is making great strides toward a commercializable 100G technology, although that goal remains pretty far off yet.  Right now it's all at the 'can we do it?' stage rather than the 'can we do it affordably in a production network?' stage.  And the answer there is obviously 'YES'!  Now all we need is some standards and we can talk products. [Read more →]

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Level 3 Slashes 450 Jobs

December 9th, 2008

You could just see it coming, couldn't you?  First there was Unity, designed to make Level 3 Communications (LVLT) more efficient in selling, provisioning, and servicing its customers - and hence requiring fewer people.  Second a worsening economy, with a credit crisis and debt maturities that make immediate cashflow more important than anything else.  Third, the layoff parade starts elsewhere in the sector - at AT&T and PAETEC so far and of course outside the sector as well.  And in the last but perhaps largest red flag, a new President and COO known for running lean operations joins the company, ready to [Read more →]

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Introducing the Jobs Board

December 8th, 2008

Considering the rather unstable employment market right now, it seemed like a logical time to add a jobs board to this website.  In the top menu, there is now a Jobs link, which leads to what I hope will be a useful feature for Telecom Ramblings readers.

If you are seeking a position, take a gander through the listings - they should be relevant to the sector and are searchable.  If you have a position (or more) you would like to list, you can do that also and not only will it appear on this site it will also go into a database that populates job listings on dozens of similarly focused sites around the internet.

If you have any suggestions for how to improve this feature, please let me know!

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Cleland's Google Fantasy as a Smokescreen

December 8th, 2008

The web has been abuzz with the research study issued by Scott Cleland, claiming that Google (GOOG) uses 21 times the bandwidth it pays for.  It's everywhere these days, but rarely do we get such a startlingly clear example of pseudo-research.  You see, this study had nothing to do with finding an answer, it had to do with finding justification for one.  Yet it's such an obvious tactic, that I think it is more of a smokescreen than an attempt to convince.

I look at it this way.  I write this blog and I put it on the internet.  If I'm lucky, some people read it.  But if I'm really, really good, I might get popular, a true [Read more →]

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PAETEC Joins the Layoff Parade

December 6th, 2008

In an SEC filing on Friday afternoon, Rochester based competitive telecom operator PAETEC (PAET) gave notice that it is downsizing by 5%, or 'approximately 222 full-time employees'. As Christmas seasons go, this one is turning out pretty poorly so far in the telecom job market.

It actually isn't clear to me that this move was induced by the economic downturn. Yes, I realize [Read more →]

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Jeff Storey Resurfaces at Level 3

December 5th, 2008

Level 3 Communications (LVLT) today named Jeff Storey as its President and COO, finally replacing Kevin O'Hara who left in March. Followers of the sector will recall that Storey was the President of WilTel Communications while it was under the wings of Leucadia National Corporation. Level 3 needed some more operational muscle to help it break out of the rut it has been in for a year, it's good to see them fill the COO position at last.

At WilTel, Storey won [Read more →]

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Introducing the Event Calendar

December 5th, 2008

Today I am introducing the Telecom Ramblings Event Calendar.  I follow lots of different events in the telecom and internet infrastructure sectors, enough that I often lose track of them, whether it be the who, when, or where.  I always wind up wading through many pages to get back to the link I need, or to find out just what time that conference call was supposed to start.  There's just no central location for such information.  Lately I've begun tracking these events in Google Calendar, and it has helped.

Then it occurred to me though that such a calendar would work well for a group, and in fact might be useful to readers of this blog.  The idea is [Read more →]

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AT&T Sends 12,000 Home for Christmas

December 4th, 2008

So AT&T decided it could do without 12,000 employees, and is laying them off just in time for the Christmas shopping season.  What can one say?  I truly hope everyone affected lands on their feet as soon as possible.  I'll bet they didn't sell the company jet yet though, and those management bonuses will still come through somehow won't they?  [Read more →]

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