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Verizon CTO Shows Some Backbone

Phil Harvey

1:50 PM -- GRAPEVINE, Texas -- TIA 2012: Inside the Network -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) EVP and CTO Anthony Melone talked over the keynote from CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL)'s Matt Beal in a brief session with reporters just a few feet from the conference's main stage.

With all the talk of wireless spectrum, who can resist creating a little interference?

In the presser, Melone talked briefly about the progress with Verizon's converged global IP/Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) backbone. The idea is to converge Verizon's public IP network, its private IP network, its wireless data network and its switched Ethernet network. Each network was built at different times, with different technologies, and Verizon is in the process of simplifying the whole mess.

Melone didn't get into gritty details of the of the backbone migration, other than to say it has started, and it's a multiyear process, and it's "beyond the RRP and RFI stage." The overall goal: "Drive the price per megabit down even lower," Melone said.

With all the discussions of how to measure the true value of a network and a network service at this show's general session, here's a major service provider CTO that knows the real metric in the network's core is price-per-bit. Even if it's newer and higher capacity, if the transport costs aren't lower, it's a deal-breaker.

There were no bombshells dropped (we would have heard those), but it does serve as a reminder that Verizon is indeed proud of its track record as having embraced the newest generation of backbone transport technologies early and is now actively working to make one huge IP/MPLS backbone network serve its four foundational technology platforms. (See Verizon CTO: Innovation Hinges on Spectrum.)

Verizon, it seems, will be soon be eager to talk about 400G, just as it was pushing the agenda on 100G a few years ago. Once you put fiber in the ground you have to exploit it to its potential, Melone said. "The more you can get out of each wavelength, the better," he added.

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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12/5/2012 | 5:30:42 PM
re: Verizon CTO Shows Some Backbone

So it will be a few more years before Verizon can honestly say "it's the Network." At least about its backbone, and not be talking about four separate infrastructures, which as you say, are something of a 'mess.'

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