Atrica's Back-to-School Special

Atrica Inc., through its partner, Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (FNC), has deployed a large, 140-site optical Ethernet network for Cox Communications Inc. (NYSE: COX) and its customer, the New Orleans Public School system (NOPS). (See Cox Deploys Atrica Ethernet Gear.)

Cox selected the Fujitsu Flexible Architecture for Subscriber Service Termination (FASST), to deliver such services as Internet access, voice over IP (VOIP), IP/H.323 videoconferencing, and distance learning.

Fujitsu says the deal exemplifies a large and growing demand among healthcare, education, and government enterprises for carrier-grade Ethernet network solutions.

FASST was designed specifically to help service providers and enterprises migrate from older TDM-based services to newer IP-based services, says Fujitsu’s John Cupit, the principal product architect for FASST. NOPS faces academic challenges such as creating content-based curriculum and satisfying No Child Left Behind requirements, which are directly affected by the performance of its network. The school system’s old network was a “total overlay network” using CIR (committed information rate) based Frame Relay and, in some locations, HSD (high speed data) service, according to Cupit.

Cupit says Fujitsu began to work with Cox in early 2004 to help form an answer to the NOPS RFP, which stated a desire for a carrier Ethernet solution. After a highly competitive selection process, the school system accepted the FASST concept in December 2004 (see FNC Finds FASST Friends).

The deployment demonstrates Ethernet’s ability to address previously underserved markets with affordable, high-speed, triple-play solutions, says Heavy Reading senior analyst Stan Hubbard. “While we’ve heard a lot about how financial and healthcare companies are increasingly adopting carrier-grade Ethernet services, the education sector is emerging as a surprisingly strong opportunity for Ethernet service providers.

“You see that here with a whopping 140 sites to be connected; and we’ve heard this from other players like Verizon, which mentioned at December’s Light Reading Telecom Investment Conference that K-12 has been the big market driver for its Ethernet services, largely due to the attractiveness of running VOIP over Ethernet."

Fujitsu and Atrica have teamed to build 10 such networks in the U.S., only one of which (Cox/NOPS) has been announced. Neither partner would disclose the dollar value of the deal.

The new NOPS network uses Atrica’s A 8100 Optical Ethernet core switches at hub locations, A 4100 Optical Ethernet aggregation switches at aggregation sites, A 2100 Optical Ethernet edge switches to deliver services at each school or administration site, and Atrica’s service provisioning and management system to manage the entire network.

The scaleability of the 17-slot Atrica A-8100 chassis with 10-Gigabit Ethernet DWDM links was a key reason for the selection of the FASST solution for NOPS, says Paul Schowalter, network transport engineering manager for Cox Communications in New Orleans.

“While transporting potentially large flows of traffic across the network, transparency to the school network and honoring QOS markings from end-to-end were vitally important. Atrica’s Layer 2 transparency with MPLS bandwidth control and QOS mechanisms allowed us to build a high performance network that supports all the multimedia applications the school system will run across it,” Schowalter says in a Fujitsu release today.

Atrica, whose customers are mainly in Europe, hopes the NOPS network will serve as a proof-of-concept for its access products in U.S. enterprises, and an entrée to a wider North American presence. The NOPS deal is “the first announced customer opportunity in the U.S.," according to Atrica director of product marketing, Umesh Kukreja.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Atrica is now an approved vendor for all Cox Communications locations, Kukreja says. Atrica is privately held, and has, to date, raised $134 million in venture capital.

Cox is the the fourth largest television provider in the U.S. with approximately 6.6 million total customers, including 6.3 million basic cable subscribers.

NOPS is the 39th largest district in the U.S. with 90,000 students.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

Viewpoint 12/5/2012 | 3:28:02 AM
re: Atrica's Back-to-School Special
Atrica has been involved in this deal long before its partnership with Fujitsu. How much revenue did Atrica get out of this deal. 140 boxes might sound a lot but the price points are not very pretty for Atrica.

Atrica's big game was Reliance in India. It tied up its resources but what has Atrica to show for it.
schoboat 12/5/2012 | 3:28:00 AM
re: Atrica's Back-to-School Special I'm not sure what your point is here. The main point and FACT of the article is that Atrica has been deployed in a major network in North America. Atrica is for real and makes very good equipment and is gaining serious traction.

While I read speculation in your post regarding how much revenue Atrica gained from this, I don't think that is very relevant to this article. Artica is on a big upswing and is far from losing momentum.

As you know, Atrica is a private company. So what is your point: to spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about the longevity of Atrica, or do you have legitimate concerns about the financial health of Atrica? Since your post appears to be a statement more than an interrogative, I think your post smells a lot like FUD.

Atrica is a serious contender for Metro GigE. Anyone who is considering their gear should contact Atrica, hear what they have to say, spend some time with the gear, and then make a RATIONAL decision not based on FUD. You might even find that Atrica's financials are such that they will be around for a while.
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