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Carriers Get Internet Savvy

Network operators can now get a view of the global Internet infrastructure, including a look at how their rivals are faring

December 12, 2005

3 Min Read
Carriers Get Internet Savvy

IP network operators are using a new competitive intelligence tool based on routing technology that shows them how well their networks, and those of all their competitors, are performing in real time and on a historical basis.

Operators such as TeliaSonera International Carrier (TIC) and the U.K.'s Telecomplete Ltd.; The London Internet Exchange Ltd. (LINX); and government agencies, including The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), are already using services from Renesys Corp. to get a global view of Internet performance. (See Renesys Offers IP Vision.)

In a nutshell, Renesys, which is privately held and funded by private investors, has spent the past five years developing patent-pending technology that "talks in BGP [border gateway protocol] to service provider networks, establishes a peering relationship with the networks, collects data from their routing tables, integrates it, and stores it," says Renesys president and chief scientist, Andy Ogielski.

This data is then used to provide a service called Routing Intelligence, which detects and identifies interruptions and slowdowns in Internet connections that can affect service levels. This effectively gives carriers visibility into problems outside their own networks, and can even provide alarms about outages on other operators' networks. That's a service targeted at service provider network engineers, notes Ogielski.

But the data is also used to provide operators' marketing, sales, and management teams with competitive intelligence on their rivals. The Market Intelligence service provides lists of the customers connected to each carrier's networks, shows how those customer relationships have changed over time, and can rank the world's carriers rank against each other in an Internet Index.

"It can tell carriers who their main rivals are, show them who is stealing their customers, and even give them an idea about who they should acquire," says Ogielski.

The Renesys man says he doesn't know of anything similar that's available, "but I know that France Telecom, Telecom Italia, and NTT have all tried to develop something themselves at some point, but failed. It wouldn't be possible for someone to compete, but it would take a long time and be very difficult."

And the services are proving a hit with at least one early adopter. Peter Cohen, global peering manager at TeliaSonera International, says he can't reveal precisely how his company is using the Renesys service, but states: "It's a really cool tool, a powerful tool that aggregates a lot of data. All our competitors will have to have it. It's providing something that's been missing from the Internet -- a qualitative and quantitative ranking system that is accurate and objective."

Adds Cohen: "Before we only had data from our own network and a few others, but this gives us a view of the whole Internet. It's a definite leap forward from what we have been doing. There could be other tools out there that can do this, but if they exist I haven't seen them."

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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