Optical/IP Networks

Cisco's SLA

5:00 PM -- From the "living the Carrier Ethernet World Congress vicariously from California" file:

The Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) announcements today include a service-level agreement (SLA) suitable for IPTV. That comes alongside promises of 50-millisecond restoration that extends to the customer premises -- provided partly by the ME 3400 line of CPE boxes Cisco has been putting out since last year. (See Cisco Touts Ethernet Gear and Cisco, ADVA Push Ethernet Access.)

But the SLA also involves checking for jitter, or even probing MPEG flows via an undisclosed third-party module. "When you talk about video SLAs, it's not just uptime," says Michael Howard of Infonetics Research Inc.

Not everyone is impressed. Regarding 50ms capabilities, Lindsay Newell, a VP of marketing at Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), offers this via email:

    Alcatel-Lucent can provide sub-50ms recovery via dual-homing of ANY [all-caps in the original, so SCREAM it!!!] standards-based customer premise [SIC] Ethernet switch to a 7450/7750 using our 'Multi-Chassis Link Aggregation' (MC-LAG) feature. This has been available since 1Q07 and is currently being implemented by at least one Tier 1 incumbent carrier in Europe.
Can Cisco do its SLA trick in a network that's not all Cisco?

"It depends on the exact topology. Most of the time -- if you look at our market share -- you're going to have an access network that's going to have Cisco in it," says Mike Capuano, a Cisco senior marketing manager.

That's dismissing the question rather than answering it, but considering it's Cisco, he's got a point. That could be a line of argument for AlcaLu to exploit, though.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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