& cplSiteName &

Windstream Taps Infinera for National Buildout

Carol Wilson
3/10/2014
50%
50%

Windstream Communications today unveiled its plans to use Infinera's DTN-X optical gear to build its first national long-haul network based on DWDM.

The network announcement marks a major success for Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) and a significant step forward for Windstream Communications Inc. (NYSE: WIN), which has been assembling fiber optic assets through acquisition during the past few years and is now ready to hook them up. (See Infinera Lands Windstream DWDM Buildout.)

In this instance, the "national" aspect doesn't actually include the West Coast, although further acquisitions to push Windstream's physical assets beyond Denver, where they currently end, can be expected. For now, CTO Randy Nicklas, an industry veteran who led XO Communications Inc. s' national buildout, is focused on creating a network capable of supporting the massive growth in bandwidth from mobile backhaul, cloud services, business data networking, and even consumer broadband. (See Windstream Names Nicklas CTO.)

"We have bandwidth demands and we have an interesting fiber plant, concentrated in two-thirds of the country," Nicklas told Light Reading. "What we don't have is a national long-haul DWDM network. We have chosen Infinera and the DTN-X to build that network, hitting major metro areas, to match our existing regional roadmap. It's a great platform for our needs."

Windstream is clearly standing up to compete more aggressively, in delivering a wide variety of services and in connecting its 27 data centers to build its cloud offerings as well. (See Windstream Makes Regional Cloud Play.)

Specifically, Nicklas says, Windstream likes the ability to turn services up quickly using the Infinera box, especially the 100G wavelength services. Infinera's software uses the combination of its 500Gbit/s FlexCoherent superchannels and integrated 5Tbit/s optical switch to enable automated service delivery.

"Establishing an actual wavelength service is easier to do on an Infinera platform and that adds up for Windstream, because we are new to the long-haul intercity DWDM space," Nicklas says. "We don't have a lot of experience among our technical staff so ease of use was an important consideration as well as ease of deployment."

Windstream will not be deploying new long-haul fiber -- the company does add new fiber today but in what Nicklas terms "tributary" routes. One of its challenges will be knitting together a single network using physical fiber of many different types from its many acquisitions, which include Paetec, KDL, Iowa Telecom and more. (See Windstream's Plan for Paetec and Windstream Buys Iowa.)

"There are lots of challenges from having different fiber types," he says. "We are doing a small amount of moving existing lightwave systems off of fiber to clear the road, but for the most part, we are using fibers that were dormant."

That means turning up optical systems to test the fibers, repair breaks, and address issues such as too many splices.

"Basically, we have to keep building the track ahead of the train," Nicklas says.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/10/2014 | 4:38:51 PM
Re: Time and time again - provisioning speed
"..how much does the average - non-Google, non-Netflix type enterprise grown annually in bandwidth?"

Interesting question, worth pursuing. 
brookseven
0%
100%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 4:03:28 PM
Re: Time and time again - provisioning speed
Carol,

I think you are beginning to see, but let me put it this way on policy management.  Just remember its programming the network, just like all the rest of this.  It will need to be really complete and very heavily tested.  

Of course, I am not a very nice man when it comes to my extremes of thinking about this.  The single most obvious implementation is for Disaster Recovery.  That makes sense as its a temporary, unplanned condition.  Unfortunately, that means dozens or hundreds of changes might be requested at the same time and might cause all kinds of circular conflict.  Here I am not thinking about a fire at a factory, but instead a Hurricane landing in say Washington DC (better place for one to go I can't imagine).

Which means all that extra resources might be gone.  Of course if you have built them and paid for them, how are you selling them when there is no disaster.  Using dynamic pricing like airlines and hotels?

Because where I have used Virtualization to save on Capex is in tuning my resources for these kinds of outages.  Hey I have a server or two go down, okay shove the extra load over here and hope for the best.  Hey its better than being totally down.  Lose a big chunk of capacity and we are SOL.  

One other thing about all this bandwidth that is being deployed.  Isn't it all for Netflix?  I mean how much does the average - non-Google, non-Netflix type enterprise grown annually in bandwidth?

seven

 

 

 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/10/2014 | 2:28:12 PM
Re: Time and time again - provisioning speed
I thought policy management would be used to prioritize network requests so the most important get fulfilled and the others get the best-effort response. 

But of course, by the time we get virtualization, we'll also have massive capacity upgrades so that scarcity of resources won't be as big an issue, right? Right?

As for union concerns about automation screw-ups, I constantly hear management concerns about human screw-ups. It will be interesting to see where this meets in the middle. 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 1:24:50 PM
Re: Time and time again - provisioning speed
They pursue the automation at the tech level...then it hits ops...and dies.

The problem is troubleshooting and inventory.  I think that is the challenge of change.

Let me pose a problem...Suppose a network has an SDN request or an NFV request that it can't fulfill or if it does fulfill it will screw up another customer?

In a data center, which is essentially 100% connected with massive pipes that is not a problem.  In a network which has fixed resources and sparse connectivity not so simple.

There are also union issues. Union workers don't want to be blamed for the screwups of automation.  This is a bigger issue than you might think as it makes them resist using automation.

Smaller carriers tend to have things overcome by the lack of people to care quite so much.

seven

 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/10/2014 | 12:50:03 PM
Re: Time and time again - provisioning speed
On the automation thing - every network operator, large and small, says they are pursuing automation of manual processes. Why is that bad for larger carriers? I understand the loss of control but aren't many of these processes things that don't involve a lot of variation? 
Carol Wilson
50%
50%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/10/2014 | 12:48:36 PM
Re: Time and time again - provisioning speed
Seven,

I don't honestly know the impact this will have on Cyan. Randy Nicklas says Windstream continues to built out the tributary network pieces that feed into this long-haul network and that would be positive for Cyan. But the projections from Cyan have indicated shrinking business with Windstream. 

Carol
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/10/2014 | 12:30:57 PM
Re: Time and time again - provisioning speed
1 Comment - 1 Question:

Provisioning Simplicity:  I have seen this as a big postiive in small carriers and in many ways a huge negative in the large ones.  The simplicity implies automation which means loss of control.  I think we will have to see how this evolves.

Question:  Think this is a positive or negative for Cyan given that Cyan has been heavily dependent on Windstream.

seven

 
Carol Wilson
100%
0%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
3/10/2014 | 10:40:55 AM
Re: Time and time again - provisioning speed
As Randy Nicklas notes, it's a major thing for service providers to be able to automate these processes because they can't throw the technical manpower at the problem. 

I think the ease of provisioning issues are going to loom large and the vendors that solve them are going to be successful. 
Ray@LR
100%
0%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
3/10/2014 | 8:38:57 AM
Time and time again - provisioning speed
Righyt fom the very first engagements, the reaction from operators re Infinera's gear has been that it is comparatively simple to deploy, turn on and then use to quickly provision services.

That's gotta be a winning long-term position, right? 
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
No Stopping Cable's Ethernet Gains

12|9|16   |     |   (0) comments


Vertical Systems' Erin Dunne explains why US cable operators, which now command a record-high 26% of the Ethernet market, will keep boosting their share.
LRTV Interviews
Fixing IoT Security Is an Ecosystem Challenge

12|9|16   |   05:34   |   (1) comment


Level 3 Communications' Chief Security Officer Dale Drew says service providers, manufacturers and even consumers must combine to halt massive DDoS attacks using IoT devices in botnets. The solution he has in mind includes reputation-based routing by the service provider but also more secure endpoint devices and greater consumer awareness.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Clears $2B in Business Revenue

12|8|16   |     |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Breaux discusses how the third-largest US MSO will reach the $2 billion revenue mark this year and plans to hit $3 billion by 2021
LRTV Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (1) comment


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
Upcoming Live Events
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Small Arctic ISP Caches Netflix in New Way
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/7/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
A Mobile Safari Click Here
Literally.
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.