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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desade 12/4/2012 | 9:01:19 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP So long, Mister New Economy. Guess you gotta go buy air pumps for all your deflated stock price walls, huh? BTW, what part of "malignant regression and pathogenic reintrojection as a defense against technopsychic decompensation" didn't you understand?

(PSST: Hecubus -- ROLL.)

jonathon 12/4/2012 | 9:01:18 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP Self-provisioning of services is important, more so for the service provider than for the customer, as it allows the SP to reduce staff and operational costs. There are benefits to the customer as well, through lower costs and more flexible services. The trick is to make the provisioning tool easy to use and very reliable.
jmiller 12/4/2012 | 9:00:48 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP I would agree that there are substantial savings for service providers in terms of staffing especially considering salaries, turnover, and training even of semi on non-technical people.

As an IS manager, I see a big benefit in not having to fuss with FOC dates for new services. We all know they are rarely met. That would be the most compelling reason from my end.

Many IT vendors of hardware/software and services provide have web interfaces for ordering products of services. I use none of mine. Calling or emailing my rep. works just as well, but the instant bandwidth would entice me to use the web front end.

Many IT vendors of hardware/software and services provide have web interfaces for ordering products of services. I use none of mine. Calling or emailing my rep. works just as well, but the instant bandwidth would intice me to use the web front end.
hype 12/4/2012 | 9:00:28 PM
re: Services Push Toward Pure IP

Would the "Rats and Mice" have a web interface?

What's the latency of a rat?

I hear that rats are the only thing that can interoperate with a Kestrel systems box, is this true?

thanks for the input...who is George Glider??

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