& cplSiteName &

CenturyLink Outlines Its Network Vision

Jeff Baumgartner
News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
11/7/2012
50%
50%

NEW YORK -- Ethernet Expo 2012 -- CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) is using Ethernet as a unifying thread as it converges its multiple networks in a way that establishes a "service-agnostic" platform.

So stated Bennett Gamel, the operator's director of product and business development, during a keynote presentation Wednesday that outlined the company's network plan and elements of its service roadmap.

Having grown considerably during the past few years following a number of high-profile acquisitions (including Embarq, Qwest Communications and cloud services specialist Savvis), the operator is looking to unify its infrastructure and operate a common platform. (See CenturyLink Clouds Up With Savvis Buy, Qwest, CenturyLink Plan $22.4B Marriage and CenturyTel + Embarq = CenturyLink.)

"Ethernet and cloud service applications are becoming intertwined," Gamel said.



That integration is well underway, with CenturyLink basing its Ethernet developments around the MEF 2.0 specifications (Requirements and Framework for Ethernet Service Protection): the operator intends to use Ethernet as both a product and as a means to enable other products and apps, noted Gamel.

The plan is to ensure that everything is interoperable to help CenturyLink establish interconnects that can turn it into a national provider with global ambitions.

Gamel outlined a handful of ways CenturyLink is evolving its transport and broadband access networks. On the transport end, it's in the process of moving to 100Gbit/s in its metro and long-haul networks, consolidating its legacy ATM/Sonet and Ethernet networks, and establishing MPLS as the control plane to deliver common services end-to-end. Oh, and it's doing all that while also integrating its cloud platform.

On the broadband access end, it's expanding its fiber deployments, though it won't abandon its copper networks, as CenturyLink will continue to update them by expanding deployments of VDSL2 and bonded VDSL2, as well as ADSL2+ and bonded ADSL2+.

But CenturyLink will aim to make the network services agnostic by consolidating everything on Ethernet wherever possible, with the goal of normalizing all services "after the access port," Gamel explained. Ethernet, he added, "will serve to simplify and aggregate" services.

It's also working toward the development of a "Virtual Service Platform," whereby multiple network applications and services, including IPTV, cloud, CDN (content delivery network) and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) capabilities, would be virtualized and linked to the underlying physical infrastructure using software-defined networking (SDN) techniques.

At this point in the process, though, this is CenturyLink's vision quest. "It's not all there today, but that's the direction we're heading," he said, noting later that CenturyLink expects to be far enough along that ATM "will disappear" within a year or so.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 17, 2018, Chicago, Illinois
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
NFV Is Down but Not Out
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/22/2018
What VeloCloud Cost VMware
Phil Harvey, US News Editor, 5/21/2018
Verizon CEO Says LA Is Second 5G City
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/16/2018
TM Forum Sea-Change Overcomes That Sinking Feeling
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/17/2018
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed