Optical/IP Networks

Yipes Bets Big on Gig

Can emerging 10-Gbit/s Ethernet offer an alternative to Sonet? A small but growing cadre of service providers say yes. And the latest of these, Yipes Inc.(http://yipes.com) is betting its future on it.

Yipes, a startup that grew out of ISP Nanospace Inc. ( http://www.nanospace.com) is buying up dark fiber in cities across the U.S. and setting it alight with managed Ethernet bandwidth. Service providers and other “high-bandwidth consumers” can buy bandwidth from Yipes in 1- to 100-Mbit/s increments, up to a maximum of 1 Gbit/s, to boost their customers’ intranets and extranets, or to create high-speed LAN connectivity across sites located in the same city. (Yipes also plans to link its facilities nationwide over the next couple of years.)

Yipes has garnered approximately $83.2 million in two rounds of funding from a raft of VCs, including Norwest Venture Partners (http://www.norwestvp.com) and New Enterprise Associates (http://www.nea.com), the outfit that helped fund Uunet in 1993.

Can Yipes live up to its promise? Some say that it has the potential to succeed -- but as an alternative, not a replacement, for Sonet. “It’s not a question of one or the other,” says Mick Scully, founder and CEO of Appian Communications Inc. (http://www.appian.com), which plans to release a Sonet-based multi-service provisioning platform (MSPP) in the near future-- see Sonet Goes POP). “For service providers with a predominant focus on data, gigabit Ethernet is a valid approach, but if you’ve spent tens of millions on an existing Sonet infrastructure, you’ll want to stick with that solution.” Appian, he says, will support both technologies (gig Ethernet, and Sonet) in its products.

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