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AFC Straps B-RAS on Telliant

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
3/24/2003

Advanced Fibre Communications Inc. (AFC) (Nasdaq: AFCI) has done more tinkering to its Telliant 5000 platform, giving the product more features for authenticating DSL subscribers, terminating PPP (point-to-point protocol) sessions, and managing IP addresses (see AFC Enhances Access Gear).

The company hopes the updates will give its customers, mostly independent incumbent carriers, a way of handling more DSL services with fewer products in their central offices and regional points of presence (POPs).

"This delivers on the whole promise of why we acquired AccessLan last year," says Ryan Koontz, AFC's director of marketing. AFC bought AccessLan for about $47 million in cash and assumed liabilities (see AFC Acquires AccessLAN).

The AccessLan acquisition gave AFC, which mainly sells digital loop carriers and other gear for the access network and remote terminals, a solid presence in the carrier central office. About 50 carriers have bought and installed the Telliant box to date, according to Koontz.

AFC calls its Telliant product a "next-generation DSLAM" (digital subscriber line access multiplexer). This is because it does more than aggregate ATM traffic from hundreds of DSL lines, the role of current DSLAMs. It also integrates some of the functions currently found in broadband remote access servers (B-RAS), devices that sit upstream of DSLAMs, terminating PPP sessions and shunting IP traffic on and off Internet backbones. In addition to acting as a DSLAM, the Telliant 5000 terminates PPP sessions with customers, maintains quality of service (QOS), and enforces class of service (COS). It also handles service provisioning and provides a central data collection point that can be used to bill customers for their network and service usage (see Juniper Unveils Wireless B-RAS).

In some cases, the new Telliant features will save carriers from having to buy a standalone subscriber management system, according to Koontz: "Now carriers can slide the IP edge out to the Class 5 central office."

Whether or not the functions of DSLAMs and B-RASs should be integrated in this way is the subject of a hot debate right now, with experts evenly split over the pros and cons. Some of the issues were aired in a recent Light Reading Webinar, the archive of which can be seen by clicking this link.

One of the 50 carriers that have installed the Telliant box is the Kerman Telephone Company, a California carrier in rural West Fresno County. AFC says the carrier uses the Telliant to aggregate its 52 fiber-fed AFC AccessMAX remote DSLAMs in its 170-square-mile service area.

Three Telliant boxes can fit in a typical telecom rack, with each shelf capable of aggregating up to 864 ADSL (asynchronous DSL) connections. The Telliant competes with central office DSLAMs such as those sold by Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), and Copper Mountain Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: CMTN), as well as Zhone Technologies Inc.'s new Raptor products (see Zhone's Raptor Grabs at DSLAM Market).

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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