Time Warner Gets RAD

RAD Data Communications Ltd. has scored a deal that could be its big break in cellular backhaul. Tomorrow, the company plans to announce pseudowire deployments by in the Houston area.

Technically, Time Warner is applying pseudowires to its metro Ethernet services. But one customer happens to be a Tier 1 wireless service provider, which has qualified RAD's IPmux systems for use in cellular backhaul.

Specifics of the deal, and of the wireless backhaul buildout, are not being divulged. But RAD says its deal is the first example of pseudowires being used for wireless backhaul on a large scale. "I've seen only small implementations until now," says Eitan Schwartz, RAD's vice president and general manager of TDM-over-IP technologies.

But plenty of people have thought about it. Wireless backhaul is "one of the most important opportunities for pseudowire access," writes Heavy Reading chief analyst Scott Clavenna in the report, "Pseudowires in Transport and Access Networks."

The benefit to carriers lies in cost savings. Cellular backhaul tends to be done on T1 and E1 lines, which are pricey compared to IP. "Add to this the new bandwidth requirements emerging for their rollouts of 3G and other high-speed wireless services, and the recurring costs associated with backhaul can become overwhelming," Clavenna writes.

Pseudowires, which run older services across IP networks, could be a way to exchange those T1/E1 links for cheaper IP connections. (See Pseudowires.)

For gear vendors, the wireless market is attractive for its volume, which dwarfs that of early pseudowire uses.

"We've been talking about how it's all very well for schools and hospitals," where wins come in clusters of maybe 50 or 80 units, Schwartz says. "The cellular market is so big. They're going to be rolling out at initially 20 towers a month."

The concept hasn't escaped other pseudowire providers. In June, Axerra Networks Inc. announced its pseudowire products specifically for the mobile market, incorporating pseudowires for ATM, circuit emulation, and Ethernet. (See Axerra Gets Pseudo-Wireless.)

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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