Cisco Launches Security Practice

Carl Weinschenk
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The Evolution of Mobile: A Cultural Game Changer

It didn’t feel much like fall when the temperature passed the 90 degree mark this week in New York, but things seem to be settling down. And, technically, autumn doesn’t start for another week or so.

In any case, the IT and telecom news and commentary remains hot—there’s a nice transition—no matter what the calendar says.

AT&T and the FCC Strike Roaming Accord

This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and AT&T agreed that the carrier would make it easier for smaller carriers to use its network.

The Hill report said that AT&T’s towers carrying signals in the 700 MHz band are incompatible with devices used by some smaller carriers. There are rules in place that dictate carriers offer roaming agreements to competitors. But the different technology renders those agreements moot. The new agreement will bridge those technical differences. Hill says that the agreement is a victory for small carriers such as C Spire Wireless and U.S. Cellular.

Secure Cisco

Cisco usually buys what it needs, but in this case it has started its own security business.

The vendor this week announced creation of the Services Security Practice. The head of the new group is Bryan Palma, who had worked in security at Boeing and PepsiCo. Commentary in the InformationWeek piece on the news pointed out that companies—from vendors to consulting companies and others—are creating security that focuses more on the big picture than isolated and discreet point products. How the new unit meshes with existing Cisco security assets remains to be seen.

Whither Copper: Will it Survive, Or Wither?

Telephone companies are dealing with their aging copper bases in two ways: They are squeezing every last ounce out of them with advances such as Very-high-bit-rate digital (VDSL) and trying to replace them with wireless, a technology whose speed and reliability steadily is increasing.

The part of the telco plan that involves ending the long relationship with copper was personified by Verizon. The carrier sought to replace copper on Fire Island, NY that decimated by Super Storm Sandy on with wireless-only service. The company determined that it was most efficient to bypass copper in favor of its Voice Link product. The thinking was that laying new fiber is disruptive—and might be pointless if another storm hits the island.

Residents say that calls were dropped, had echoes and that 911 doesn’t always work. eWeek reports that the company reversed course after a long Public Service Commission hearing. The carrier will install new copper in the western part of the island.

IBM and Continental in Auto Telecom Deal

Something feels different about telecommunications in cars; perhaps because automobiles move, unlike stationary homes or offices. Regardless, a lot is happening on that front.

This week, IBM and auto supplier Continental announced an alliance that will enable automobile manufacturers to link to a network and use it to offer customers new services.

The deal was announced at the auto show in Frankfurt, Germany. IBM will supply back end computing assets capable of processing alerting autos of what lies ahead. The companies will develop an electronic horizon that will enhance the capabilities and enable “anticipatory” driving, the story at CNET says. The system will push electronic updates to the cars’ computer systems. The story says that there are reported tie-ins with Google, but nothing was mentioned by the two principals.

This Elvis Truly Has Left the Building

This story comes from as far away as anything made on earth has ever travelled. In June, I posted on reports that the Voyager 1 probe, which was launched by NASA in 1977, was approaching the edge of our solar system. The story linked to my post provides interesting information on how scientists determine whether or not the line has been crossed. In essence, an analysis of the solar wind indicates whether the craft is within, at or beyond the interstellar boundary.

The same site now says that the Voyager craft has left the solar system and is the first manmade object in interstellar space. Indeed, that crossing probably actually happened 13 months ago, according to the story.

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