FT Heralds Ethernet Breakthrough
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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