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Optical/IP Networks

Services Push Toward Pure IP

Metropolitan Ethernet service providers are readying new weapons in their fight to replace older technologies such as Sonet.

Among the most powerful weapons are simplified IP (Internet protocol) networks and Web-based provisioning of bandwidth. This week, Telseon and 360networks Inc. (Nasdaq: TSIX; Toronto: TSX.TO) highlighted the trend by tying their networks together in order to offer customers "end to end IP." To sweeten the offer, they'll add a Web-based interface that allows customers to set up and change bandwidth increments online -- providing a kind of instant IP.

Trials will begin this year, starting in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York, where both Telseon and 360networks have POPs (points of presence). No date's been given for official rollout of the services.

Telseon's not the only provider developing an intercity IP network with Web provisioning. Yipes Communications Inc. says it's started to build out its own intercity network using services from Level 3 Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: LVLT), Savvis Communications (Nasdaq: SVVS), and Uunet. And spokespeople for Yipes say a Web-based configuration tool is in trials.

Yipes is a step behind Telseon in the respect that it doesn't yet offer Web-based configuration even for its local customers. But if Yipes can make it first to market with a browser configuration tool fit for use with its long-distance services, it could beat Telseon to some choice business and ISP contracts.

Talk of Web-based network configuration isn't new. Many service providers of all kinds, including providers of traditional leased lines, have touted their plans to offer some sort of Web-based configuration tool. But actual deliveries have been rare. Carriers typically cite security limitations as a key reason to hold off.

But today's Ethernet service providers are betting the bank on making their services easier to set up and change than traditional Sonet-based leased lines (see Metro Optical Ethernet). To do this, they're willing to tackle the security issue head on.

Telseon, for example, says it's developed a proprietary security system that uses specially designated IDs to ensure customers can't interfere with one another's setups. Telseon's biggest equipment provider, Riverstone Networks, has a Web-based tool that will be customized to work with the Telseon configuration program.

Other obstacles remain. Web-based configuration tools are heavy on the overhead, which can make them slow. Speeding them up can lead to compromises. Telseon says it offers its existing metro customers the choice of changing bandwidth according to specific, round-number increments on the Web. "People aren't going to by 47 or 82 Mbit/s of bandwidth, generally," says a spokesperson. "We've tried to create a menu of reasonable steps to keep management overhead down." Users can opt, for instance, to purchase bandwidth in increments of 5 or 10 Mbit/s -- from 1 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s.

Analysts agree that getting the kinks worked out will be worth it. Web provisioning could be the key to Ethernet metro services replacing Sonet connections.

"Web provisioning puts ASPs, ISPs, and end users in control of end-to-end services," says Jason Knowles, associate analyst at Current Analysis. The ability to provision bandwidth themselves, as opposed to struggling with Sonet, can be a major selling point, he says.

Others share this view. "With leased lines, as you outgrow one increment, say T1, it's a big step to move to the next," says David Passmore, research director of The Burton Group consultancy. "With services like [Telseon's], your browser causes the server to touch a switch and changes the service parameters. It's like configuring frame relay CIRs, only you're working with increments of 1 Mbit/s in IP networks."

-- Mary Jander, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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MPLS guy 12/4/2012 | 10:33:10 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP Self provisioning is a sweet tool. From a metro angle, the guys at Telseon are on the right track, however, we have to keep things in perspective with regards to the Ethernet players. Yipes had a GUI idea but, because they had an ATM core, so customers had to call in their provisioning requests and wait a few days.

Sigma Networks had all the right hype. They even had a former FCC Chairman as one of their biggest cheerleaders and board members. But...after blowing through almost 1/2 billion in VC money, they closed their doors last month.

Telseon isn't too far behing but they have a great CEO and could make it. Telseon has a sweet GUI but they are in big-time trouble and need to move beyond the metro to hopefully survive. Hooking up with 360 networks might give them some "inter-city" life. However, if you reference LightReading archives on Telseon, you'll see that they reported "booked" revenue as "real" revenue and got in hot water. In fact, the comment in the Archives from a former emplyeee said that Telseon was making them do stuff that was just short of "criminal". Then, they laid off 1/2 thier emplyess during the holidays.

The way for self-provisioning to really work is to use an all IP Network, with no ATM core translations. We've found a company in Irving, TX, named Masergy Communications that has a portal to provide the true, no-BS provisoning. Built on Lucent's Vital Suite, it allows us to use the bandwidth for either video, voice or IP and you can do it in minutes! Additionally, because it'a a pure IP play, using MPLS as it's protocal, we get to prioritise our applications at the same time.

I love the George Gilder references. Visionaries like his take us out of the marketing webs that Telseon and Sigma Networks like to spin. He moves us through our frustrations in the hopes of finding true throughput services that allow us to process our applications.

His new book, although there are some errors, is a great read as it has a chapter entirely dedicated to the True Meaning of Light. We gotta cheer each other on. If we're to take interest in what Light Reading is all about, we've come to realize that it's not what Telseon's brochure says, but it's about how one moves out of the lab and into the enterprise. Whoever does it right, and there are those that do it right, allow all of us to become more productive.
Mary Jander 12/4/2012 | 9:01:36 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP How important is self-provisioning (being able to configure service choices on the Web) to the future of metro Ethernet services?
spencer 12/4/2012 | 9:01:28 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP Self provisioning software is a "marketing tool". Not the end all be all to the MAN. The quality of the network infrastructure and the way in which it is maintained/managed is the true value add. Any customer would admit that they would much rather have excellent Qos, low latency, and responsive customer support than a nice little web interface which may or may not function as advertised. In the end it will come down to basics for the MAN providers. Equipment utilized and the way in which it is managed.
desade 12/4/2012 | 9:01:23 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP This is so much tripe. Everyone knows that rats and mice have been and will be the transport vehicles of choice for post-Dubya Amerika. It's all about Medieval physical layer disease vector implementation these days.
wdog 12/4/2012 | 9:01:23 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP Well, it seems the industry is intent on creating a war between Ethernet and Sonet, and LightReading seems eager to join in the fray. If youGÇÖre going to participate, why not use your considerable industry exposure to help sort though all of the marketing hype and get to the real issues. Self-provisioning isnGÇÖt one of them. Improving service provisioning, whether it is a Sonet service or an Ethernet service, is a major issue for the industry, however, the technical challenges are roughly the same for either technology. Provisioning isnGÇÖt what will differentiate one from the other. Both technologies are evolving. Comparing todayGÇÖs Sonet solutions to Sonet solutions from even two years ago would be like comparing todayGÇÖs Ethernet to Ethernet running over thick yellow coax. How many of you remember Ethernet in those days? If you remove IP from the debate, since I donGÇÖt think anyone disagrees that IP will be the service protocol of choice, then the issue is Sonet or Ethernet as Transport. In that scenario, the real differences will boil down to the difference in Frame formats and synchronous versus asynchronous protocols. Both have unique advantages, and in all reality will probably co-exist in the transport network. Of course this is just my opinion, what do others think?
opticalnutjob 12/4/2012 | 9:01:23 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP Desade-

There is no place for people like you on these boards. Don't you see the value in the future of IP. I am personally a HUGE fan of George Gilder and firmly believe that the future of communications will be entirely based on optical Ethernet and that TDM will die a quick death. Yes, quick. Competition from carriers such as Yipes, Telseon, Level 3 and others are changing the way we communicate and will leave no room for the 10,000 lb incumbents. To ridicule their vision is an insult to the visionaries, this website and the industry at large. Please excuse yourself from these boards.

Warmest wishes,
ONJ
desade 12/4/2012 | 9:01:22 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP Of course you're a fan of George Gilder. He's the guy who only hypes companies he's personally invested in, just like YOU bonehead. And your TDM sentiments are truly amazing, as every RBOC on earth is weeping uncontrollably at their teeny multi-billion-dollar TDM revenues. You are clearly delusional, rabid and downright whacko. Feel free to remove yourself from this earth you freak.

XXOO,

MD-S
opticalnutjob 12/4/2012 | 9:01:21 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP Desade-

Yes, I am a fan of George Gilder. He's ONLY THE SMARTEST GUY TO WALK THE EARTH SINCE NEWTON. How many bullseye calls have you made? You'll eat your circuit switched words when IP makes its way into your phone, dishwasher, DVD player (it's this new thing in home entertainment) and bloodstream. Wake up!

Love,
ONJ
desade 12/4/2012 | 9:01:20 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP Ahh, I understand now. You're a fan of George Gilder because YOU ARE GEORGE GILDER!! Nice plug for yourself there, Georgie. How many bullseye calls have I made? Quite a few more than Mister "DWDM is the WAVE" -- two lambdas deployed in the past 15 years can't be wrong, Georgebaby. OK, who lost money because they invested in things George talked about? Hands?

DVD? Try LASERDISK, you gutless B2B e-dotcommando.

Circuit-switching RULES!! WHOOOHOO!

MD-S
opticalnutjob 12/4/2012 | 9:01:19 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP Desade-
George doesn't have time putz around with freaks like you... he has more important things to do time. As do I.
B'bye-
ONJ
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