Reliance Globalcom Beefs Up Its Metro
Global Cloud Xchange announced today it's picked Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) for a massive metro upgrade that puts an emphasis on virtual private LAN service (VPLS). (See Reliance Goes 10-GigE.)
Using Juniper's MX-series Ethernet Service Routers, Reliance will extend metro port capacity to 10 Gbit/s Ethernet from Gigabit Ethernet. Additionally, the carrier will be extending VPLS capabilities to the network edge. The upgrades have already been done in New York City, with more metro areas to be announced in the coming months.
Juniper won't completely displace the Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) equipment Reliance has been using. The two vendors' gear will work alongside each other.
The upgrade is part of a $200 million investment that Reliance Communications Ltd. started last year when it acquired the Ethernet services carrier Yipes Enterprise Services Inc. for $300 million. Reliance would later combine Yipes with FLAG Telecom Ltd. into the entity now known as Reliance Globalcom. (See Yipes! Here Comes a Spending Spree, Reliance Bags Yipes for $300M, and Reliance Integrates Global Services.)
To top it off, Reliance Globalcom acquired VPN operator Vanco plc . (See Reliance Snaps Up Vanco.) Reliance's VP of network architecture Shankar Narayanaswamy explained this acquisition strategy in a recent LRTV interview below.
"The idea is to build a top 5 global communications provider," says Keao Caindec, chief marketing officer for the enterprise business unit of Reliance.
The MX-series routers -- which provide, on paper, up to 960 Gbit/s of switching capacity -- will beef up reliance's metro networks and backbone rings, Caindec says. (See Juniper Expands MX.) The extra capacity is what will allow Reliance to extend VPLS to the network edge.
Reliance is upgrading the city-to-city portion of its network as well, using Juniper's M120 Multiservice Edge Routers and upgrading to 10-Gbit/s ports to create a 40 Gbit/s backplane between cities. (See Juniper Launches M120 and Juniper Gets More Redundant.)
Enterprise customers always want to add capacity, but Caindec says the VPLS element of this upgrade is just as important to Reliance's strategy. "The other part of this is about continuing to run Ethernet and VPLS over fiber as opposed to over Sonet within the metros," he says.
"Many other carriers are still doing Sonet, which takes a lot more capex and is a bit more complex to manage. What we're finding with Ethernet and MPLS and VPLS is that we can support convergence of fully meshed services."
Caindec says those points were key in the decision to fully go with VPLS in the metro as opposed to Provider Backbone Transport (PBT, or PBB-TE). It also makes Reliance the latest major operator to brush off the new flavor of carrier Ethernet. (See PBT Sidelined at BT, Verizon Also Shunning PBT, and Nortel Wins PBB Deal With Verizon.)
"The real difference we've seen is the current iterations of PBT and PBB-TE offer support for point-to-point networks as opposed to fully meshed networks. It's currently a restriction really, which is why I think you're seeing many of the carriers paring back their investments in those other technologies," says Caindec.
— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading