Service Provisioning, European-Style

In reality, ECI is pretty much in the same boat as the dozen or so other vendors that have announced Sonet-based MSPPs that won't ship in their fully-fledged form for quite a while (see Sonet Goes POP).

In ECI's case, the XDM is deployed in the carrier's point of presence (POP) and enables operators to quickly deploy a range of services over their fiber backbones. As noted, it differs from other MSPPs in enabling carriers to offer lower bandwidth connections to customers, down to 64 kbit/s, while still being able to scale to very high speeds, of STM-1 (155 Mbit/s) and more.

On the backbone side, the box can connect to four fibers and each fiber can carry 40 wavelengths, each carrying 10 Gbit/s, using DWDM (dense wave division multiplexing). It incorporates a range of narrow, wide and broadband cross-connect and add-drop multiplexer functions, to pack the wavelengths with different streams of traffic at different bandwiths.

On the access network side, the XDM works with ECI's existing Broadgate network termination unit at customer sites to provide a wide range of interfaces, including X.21 and 10Base-T Ethernet. As noted, additional modules are under development that will enable carriers to provide ATM and IP services over these connections in the future.

Combining all of these functions in the same box delivers big savings, according to ECI, which cites a a cost comparison for a typical requirement - a hub site providing several thousand E1 connections over several 10 Gbit/s rings. With today's equipment, carriers would have to install as many as 60 separate SDH add-drop muxes and cross-connects, costing $3.5 million. All of that can be replaced with a single XDM, costing $600,000, according to ECI. A single box solution also cuts costs for maintenance, spare parts, cooling and power consumption, it adds.

-- by Peter Heywood, international editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com
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