Ethernet services

FT Heralds Ethernet Breakthrough

France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE) says it has made a significant breakthrough in its efforts to provide flexible and affordable multipoint Ethernet services to its enterprise customers following years of development with vendor partner Atrica Inc. (see FT, Atrica Team on Ethernet ).

The carrier says the two companies jointly developed a virtual private LAN service (VPLS) technology called VPLS with traffic engineering, or VPLS-TE. Atrica incorporated it into version 3.5 of its carrier Ethernet systems, which were launched in June this year (see Fujitsu, Atrica Demo).

This new technology has enabled France Telecom, a long time user of Atrica's technology, to engineer multipoint Ethernet services that make more efficient use of network capacity and so reduce costs both for itself and its customers, according to France Telecom R&D executive Arnaud Joly (see France Telecom Picks Atrica).

At the moment, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)'s VPLS draft allows only best effort multipoint Ethernet services, says Joly, and "our goal is to offer new services that are comparable with ATM."

"There are three main problems with the IETF's draft for multipoint services," says Joly. "It doesn't allow for hard service level agreements, you can't guarantee QoS, and there's no flexible connectivity model. We want to be able to reserve specific and different levels of bandwidth on particular links between our clients' sites, and now we can do this."

France Telecom's Joly says a commercial service based on the VPLS-TE technology should be launched within the next 12 months.

Heavy Reading senior analyst Stan Hubbard says that "anything that enables more flexible layer 2-based multipoint services is a breakthrough, and being able to configure different speeds for ingress and egress is certainly useful. This should give France Telecom the kind of control that it would have with its legacy services, and should help address pent-up enterprise demand for Ethernet services."

He adds: "Atrica has been very focused on enabling operators to deliver more robust enterprise services," and the vendor is at the cutting edge of such developments."

Atrica's VP of marketing Nan Chen adds that the VPLS-TE technology offers another advantage. "Traditionally, VPLS has to be full mesh, which takes up a lot of bandwidth that isn't needed, but TE allows a hub and spoke model that reduces costs and cuts down on bandwidth waste," says Chen, adding that two other Atrica customers, Cox Communications Inc. (NYSE: COX) and Japan's KVH Telecom Co. Ltd., have already deployed VPLS-TE systems (see KVH Telecom Deploys Atrica and Cox Deploys Atrica Ethernet Gear).

So will Atrica be offering up its technical developments as the basis for further standards development? "We're not shy about this. We're looking at putting this to the IETF for consideration," he says.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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tmc1 12/5/2012 | 3:03:10 AM
re: FT Heralds Ethernet Breakthrough mega-flame coming:

FT is foolish to buy a product from a company that does not have enough revenue or customers to sustain itself (gee... wouldn't have to do with the fact that they FUNDED them, would it?) Atrica has burned a lot of cash and really is not going anywhere at this point and everyone knows that except FT it appears.

Anything Atrica is doing with VPLS-TE is just another proprietary trick. WHY? There are several companies that invented and pushed VPLS while Atrica was pursuing different L2 proprietary mechanisms before that do it much, much better. If what they are doing is so great why don't they get it approved by the other vendors so there is a draft standard. It makes me suspicious...

Technically it is almost impossible to have a multipoint service that is not BE due to possibility of oversubscription of one site from many. It may be possible to have certain relatively low-bw classes overprovisioned enough to protect them. You can do that today with a proper TM process and MPLS QoS based on the draft standard verson of VPLS. Me smells a fraud...

BTW, VPLS has not required full mesh in almost 2 years!!! Alcatel introduced H-VPLS in Release 2 in march 2004 which can do spokes and reduced the overhead of the full mesh.

LR and Stan "not the man" Hubbard, get the facts straight before you publish this rubbish or provide your useless input. There are some of us out here that can actually read and DO understand the technology.

Flame off.
Larry, Monkey 12/5/2012 | 3:03:08 AM
re: FT Heralds Ethernet Breakthrough Calm down, dear. You'll hurt yourself.
WildRumpus 12/5/2012 | 3:03:01 AM
re: FT Heralds Ethernet Breakthrough Word on the street is that Atrica has raised more money and has some more customer wins. If that's so, why they would bother with this kind of announcement is confounding. While it's nice that their gear can do these things, for LR to herald it as a "breakthrough," (or, rather repeate FT's chest pumping) is another mystery. Atrica seems fine w/o LR's help. Maybe they're just trying to keep their streak of picking M&A candidates with the #10 on the Top Ten list alive!
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