Ballart Bolts From AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) vice president Ralph Ballart, who became the face of Project Lightspeed at SBC, has left the company to take a job at Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Light Reading has learned.

Formerly vice president of broadband services for SBC Labs, Ballart reportedly is staying in California, working with the IP group formed around acquired startup TiMetra Networks. (See Alcatel & TiMetra Seal the Deal.)

Neither Alcatel nor AT&T would comment, the latter citing a policy not to discuss personnel matters, but multiple sources closely involved with AT&T say Ballart left for Alcatel in December. One source, requesting anonymity, believes Alcatel initiated the move by recruiting him out.

Ballart couldn't be located for comment, so it's unclear whether the recent merger of SBC and AT&T had anything to do with his decision to say yes. For what it's worth, SBC seems to be running the show at the merged company. (See SBC Brass Dominates the New AT&T .)

Ballart had become a highly visible figure, giving talks about Lightspeed at various industry gatherings, including one run by Heavy Reading. (See SBC Exec Talks Lightspeed.)

Alcatel is the systems integrator chosen for Lightspeed, so Ballart and the company are obviously familiar with one another. Broadband projects including Lightspeed were a boon to Alcatel last year, as the company began staking its routers to IPTV. (See Alcatel Router Revenues Surge.)

The obvious question is whether Ballart's departure might affect AT&T's outlook for fiber build-outs -- but as part of SBC Labs, Ballart wasn't the one dictating SBC/AT&T's strategy. And it's doubtful that any one person's absence could derail the highly publicized Project Lightspeed.

Still, the carrier has lost a big-name proponent of fiber buildouts, and his departure might cause some furrowed brows at non-Alcatel equipment vendors. "Ralph and members of his team were pretty strong proponents of GPON," says one source who requested anonymity.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:07:20 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T
I hope Ralph does well in his new position.

robert_rodriguez 12/5/2012 | 4:07:19 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T May be a nice guy but ALA, MSFT, et al are not going to be able to delivery triple play, securely over any network with GPON or any PON.

This is why this is failing around the globe. As soon as Bandwidth up-take and O&M kicks in it all fails. Forget about high end security needs of Corporation or for that matter anything Health Care or National Defense.

Time to step up and admit tehnical failure boys and girls. Active Ethernet is the only way to go to get what the whole market is willing to pay for. Not Cable and DSL modems on steroids.

Pay up and move on. Fix the aggregation level with routers and electricity.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:07:18 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T

I guess when you look at Verizon's BPON buildout or NTTs EPON buildout both delvering triple play today that you cover your eyes and start yelling la la la la la. That way you can pretend they don't exist.

These networks are not built for large corporations. Not sure why you seem to think that they are.

robert_rodriguez 12/5/2012 | 4:07:17 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T And how many users to they have? How many applications?

That is Triple Play to you?? Hell I have a cable modem now that does lots of what you call triple play.

So are you also proposing telecom companies have separate metro for Corporations to ensure security?

I think I will stand, once again, by a statement I made. PON won't work for Triple Play because it does not scale nicely.

It is, at best, a temporary solution till you put power in the aggregation layer and stick a router in it.

Splitting a fibre and ultra fine tuning lasers like we used to do at Codenoll (try finding that name smarty pants) in 1986 ain't gonna ever cut it.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:07:16 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T
Yes, they have 100s of thousands each running voice, data and video. NTT is connecting over 100,000 customers a month.

Yes, they already have and always will have separate metro networks at OSI Layer 2. The Access Technology that delivers Ethernet Frames back to the CO doesn't matter to the metro network.

It has already scaled nicely. Can't help that you failed 20 years ago. It has already suceeded nicely in 2006.


Both of these rollouts already have routers in the aggregation layer. Verizon's network uses Juniper ERX routers directly northbound from the OLT.

Perhaps, you should open your eyes. Both of these deployments are well documented and are growing at a rate that exceeded the growth of cable modems and DSL.

fiberous 12/5/2012 | 4:07:12 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T Well, Ralph you will miss the ducks that mess
the San Ramon office. As far as the rest of the
thread about PONs...
Folks, this is about Ralph and we
are supposed to toast and roast him. Dont loose
you creativity and become rear end introspective
while focused on technology. Ethernet is just
relegated to RJ45 these days and if you are
new to this please help yourself to the other

So, Ralph is a quite a guy. Except, when he is
with the MEF board dudes!
Ralphy, you did have some wild things in Canada
Toronto, and the rest of places where MEF had
meetings and certainly had an impact on MEF's

However, was that just a ride on the wild ride?
Now, that you are being discussed in open public
your deeds are good discussion fodder.

Given your fears of Redbanks you decided to bail.
AT&T announced success in Lightspeed but did they
or you pick the Timetra box? Let us be honest,
Alcatel and SBC have longer ties that goes back
DSL days. This one was sort of was confused by
the Redbank boys. A town where vendors have to buy you own booze when you take customers to
those Italian joints.
So, Redbank did win over you? It is better to
clear this.

But, looks like the service is
being rolled out in SBC teritory.
Looks like someone or something got greased
here. Is this is your compensation to keep it
quite and pay the penalty of not listening
to you?

Anyway, you are a very good guy and I have a
lot of respect for you and your family values.
But, moves like this when covered by LR will
make it difficult for quite folks like you!

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:07:09 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T

Please tell me where to send the men in the white coats.

You clearly have dementia. You have stopped even making sense at all.

You asked if these are rollouts of scale. The answer is yes they are. You don't like that answer, so you make some unsubstantiated claims. For example, having a single OSS infrastructure is completely separate from the Access Bandwidth.

If you believe any carrier of 10M plus customers has a single OSS tool for every customer, I have a bridge to sell you.

robert_rodriguez 12/5/2012 | 4:07:09 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T B7, you are drawing distinctions that make no difference and you are not addressing the central point.

To have one network for all customers using one O&M/OSS infrastructure requires what GPON and PON can't offer in bandwidth or security.

You are as they say in the trading world "talking your book."

Please stop stepping up a false strawman to then knock em down. You do this continually on this board with my posts to support your position.

By telling me the local phone monopoly has lots of subscribers doing something called triple play over PON is not your best. It does not address my central point of managing one network with one set of tools.

GPON aint the answer and it is why the more robust content and security applications of today (which will be trivial in 5 years) can't run on these networks in mass scale.

Bandwidth and security needs are increasing -- active ethernet does what PON can't. PON is cheaper though..... and there is something positive about that too.

"Cheaper is sometimes "just as good for now and lord know what tech brings in two years" .... now that is a valid argument for debate IMHO.

BTW, I didn't fail 20 years. I just have 20 years more knowledge than you.....
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:07:08 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T
Okay, try using TCONTs. I suggest you simply have no idea how G/BPON actually works.

From a downstream direction (towards the consumer) the OLT has control of the traffic flow. They can apply policing and scheduling rules to this traffic. The traffic is placed inside a VCC (BPON) or Port ID (GPON) and is groomed off by the ONT that is the targeted device. Based on Port ID or VCC, encryption can be selectively enabled.

In the upstream direction, scheduling of the PON itself is controlled by the OLT through the granting mechanisms. One can choose to use the TCONTs to repreent traffic classes or one can choose to allocate bulk bandwidth to the ONT and have the ONT schedule traffic onto the bandwidth.

Through the use of either Status Reporting or Non-Status Reporting DBA, bandwidth allocation can be adjusted in real time based on offered load.

They are quite differentiatable. In BPON, ATM QoS is generally used. In GPON (and EPON), Ethernet CoS rules are generally used.

Perhaps you should read the standards and understand them before you make claims.

robert_rodriguez 12/5/2012 | 4:07:08 AM
re: Ballart Bolts From AT&T Yes, white lab coats. OK, let me try another way... How do provide QoS to a residential subscriber using PON? Really smart lasers??

Let me correct your false strawman once again, a common set of tools and common infrastructue IS NOT THE SAME as a common applications. What you state is like saying that you can't have a common database software and common hardware to run Software Applications.

IMHO what PON delivers is ONCE AGAIN an undifferentiated pipe offering to Customers. BUY MY PIPES -- THEY ARE CHEAP and WIDER!!!!! There is some value to this approach to deliver v0.1 Triple Play and many established hardware vendors would love that..

No wonder the RBOCs and Cable companies are in a deathly game of who has the lowest price of the day. They have people like you advising them based on "engineering and cost" -- not based on "differentiation and service."

To me, you sound like a GM Car Engineer. Technically right, Strategically wrong. Pipes are not just pipes. If managed right you can offer mass customization and better price discrimination to consumers.

But, I should not expect a telco guy to understand that. You guys are the Airline and Car execs of the future. Congratulating yourselfs on this year's profits / sales while steaming ahead toward the iceberg in the water.

G' luck cuz I ain't the dinosaur .....
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