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News briefs

Bandwidth easy

RealNetworks has previewed Version 8 of its RealSystem IP-based streaming products, a collection of technologies that could enable companies to support higher-bandwidth audio and video over their networks while keeping bandwidth consumption low. Five years after announcing the first RealAudio product for streaming voice and music, RealNetworks demonstrated full-screen, near-DVD quality at 1Mbps - a major improvement in picture quality over past versions.

The company also showed half-screen, near VHS- quality video streamed at 200Kbps, the "sweet spot" of the broadband marketplace RealNetworks is targeting, said Ben Rotholtz, a general manager at RealNetworks. RealServer 8 will be operating system-independent, allowing it to be adapted to platforms such as Mac and Linux. RealNetworks has also added support for interactive streaming media using technology from Princeton Video Image.

Alcatel enhances its internetwork switchesFrench network telecommunications equipment company Alcatel has announced it will add new quality-of-service features to its OmniCore 5000 family of internetwork backbone switches. The company said the new intelligence built into the switch core will support converged voice, video and data networks, including the capability to identify revenue- bearing traffic in electronic-business networks and accelerate that traffic at gigabit wire speeds.

Cisco, Lucent and Nortel execs team up

Former executives from Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies, and Nortel Networks have announced the formation of Maple Networks, a company that will develop multiservice optical switches. Officials of the new company said its technology, which is still in development, will provide equipment to help provision and scale multiple types of services over optical networks. Founders of the new venture include Phanindra Jujjavarapu, a former Cisco and Lucent executive; Sandip Chattpoadhya, formerly of Chipcom; Ravi Manghirmalani, former chief architect at Nortel; and Paul Zorabedian, who developed tunable laser technology at Hewlett-Packard. Maple Networks announced its new CEO will be Bill Joll, who was president of Nortel's European Market Solutions

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