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ADVA Takes Aim at SDH AccessADVA Takes Aim at SDH Access

New access device uses VCAT and GFP technology to connect business data through fiber networks

September 17, 2003

3 Min Read
ADVA Takes Aim at SDH Access

ADVA AG Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) has introduced a new access product for the European market that will help carriers extend their SDH and WDM transport networks all the way to the customer premises. The new device, called the Fiber Service Platform (FSP) 1500, is expected to be generally available later this year, the company says.

The arrival of the FSP 1500 represents somewhat of a shift for ADVA. Much of its previous DWDM transport equipment has been aimed at helping carriers cram more bandwidth down fibers in their Sonet/SDH networks. The size and style of its new box puts ADVA more into the realm of selling lower-cost devices at higher volumes, an area that might play well to its partnerships with reseller partner Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE). Its target audience comprises carriers that wish to inexpensively provide high bit-rate data services, storage connections, and voice service to enterprises.

The move might also hint that the company is looking to expand into the increasingly competitive metro networking area (see Voodoo Econ in Metro DWDM and Metro DWDM Action Heating Up).

ADVA's pitch, is, of course, better price/performance. "We believe this is at least three times lower in cost than anything that's out there now," says Brian McCann, ADVA's chief marketing and strategy officer. McCann and company won't say exactly what ADVA is charging, only that the list price will be less than $10,000 per unit.

The 11-pound device is one rack-unit high and aggregates up to eight LAN, storage, and voice applications on a combined STM16 (2.488 Gbit/s) fiber link. Supported applications today include Fibre Channel, Ficon, Gigabit Ethernet, 10/100 Ethernet, and T1/E1 connections. In the future, the box will support Escon, Fast Ethernet 100BaseFX, and DVB-ASI.

What's more, the device makes use of Generic Framing Procedure (GFP); Virtual Concatenation (VCAT); and Link Capacity Adjustment Scheme (LCAS), three of the most popular methods large incumbent carriers use to encapsulate data traffic over their SDH networks.

The FSP 1500 competes with two main kinds of equipment. The first is the next-generation Sonet add/drop multiplexer -- such as those made by Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) that have added blades to deliver Ethernet and storage services. "They're just putting new cards into old products," says McCann.

ADVA's new product also competes against specially built customer premises gear -- such as that sold by Larscom Inc. (Nasdaq: LARS) -- that is designed the RBOCs (regional Bell operating companies) aiming to add Ethernet services with a simple, low-cost access device (see Larscom Frames Up Ethernet). Larscom says it is working to have an SDH version of its Orion 7400 Sonet access platforms in the market by early next year, according to Larscom VP of marketing Gurdip Jande.

"They're caught between trying to be a Sonet ADM and an access product," Jande says of ADVA's new box. He points out that unless the ADVA device is able to group the payloads of SDH frames into lower rates, such as 1.544 Mbit/s or 2.048 Mbit/s, a process known as lower-order VCAT, the device might be wasting bandwidth.

ADVA didn't have specifics on its VCAT method at press time, but a spokesperson again noted that its device is unlike any other in the European market, giving it a several month headstart on potential challengers.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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