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Epsilon Makes Metro Move With BTI

Ray Le Maistre
12/5/2011

In the global networking business, Epsilon Telecommunications appears to have developed itself something of a niche as a neutral provider of managed optical interconnection services.

And now it's deploying a new metro transport product from BTI Systems Inc. to become a more efficient and timely provider of citywide capacity in Singapore, with plans to do the same in other key global locations.

BTI Systems? Check. (See BTI Systems Expands, BTI Extends Packet Backhaul, BTI Unveils WideCast and BTI Intros New Optical Platform.)

But, er ... Epsilon who?

Building from a base of distressed assets acquired following the Bubble years about a decade ago, Epsilon has built itself a global transport network that now provides managed interconnection as well as SDH and Ethernet capacity services.

With capacity reserved on 22 subsea networks spanning North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific, Epsilon provides its 400 or so international service provider customers with capacity and managed interconnection services -- essentially connecting multiple customers to a single optical switch and hooking them up to local networks. Epsilon refers to its network as a "carrier-neutral interconnect platform" that is managed from two network operating centers (NOCs) in Singapore and London.

The company, privately owned by property and media conglomerate the Kuok Group (majority owner) and British investor Michael Stone, has 80 points of presence (POPs) globally, the majority in Europe (with many in London). It has 12 core optical switches sourced from Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) (including the 1850 Transport Service Switch), and has built a number of metro networks in locations such as London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Singapore that connect to landing stations. It also has its own collocation facilities in locations such as London, Singapore and Jakarta.

And it's in those metro networks where Epsilon is looking to up its game.

Meeting new capacity needs
The company's CTO, George Szlosarek, tells Light Reading that it has seen growing demand for 1Gbit/s, 2.5 bit/s and 10Gbit/s services in its metro markets, but didn't have the capability to turn on services quickly and efficiently.

So while Szlosarek discussed his requirements with existing metro optical box supplier BTI, he went out into the market and checked out a few alternatives.

For what Epsilon needed (an easy-to-manage, reliable, flexible and affordable metro transport box with a small footprint), the CTO says there were only three viable options -- BTI, Cyan Inc. and Transmode Systems AB . (See Cyan Adds ROADM Blade and Transmode Unveils 80GigE System.)

He didn't take long to decide he was sticking with BTI. "Its feature set is unsurpassed, it's incredibly responsive to requirements and its equipment is incredibly reliable," says Szlosarek, who claims that in the past six years of having BTI boxes in his metro rings he hasn't seen "a single card failure."

He also notes that BTI is "pin-sharp on its delivery. It can get products out of the factory and up and running within weeks. That's something a lot of the bigger vendors could learn from," adds the CTO.

So Szlosarek has recently deployed BTI's Dynamic Optical Layer ROADM and DWDM amplifier capabilities in its Singapore network, with about 10 wavelengths already lit, plans to upgrade its London metro with the same technology early in 2012. (See BTI Intros Dynamic Optical Layer and BTI Makes the Metro Dynamic.)

The early results are encouraging for Epsilon, with the CTO noting that the "ROADM capabilities are making operations very simple now."

For Epsilon, the hope is that this sort of deployment will help the company grow faster than the current rate of 30 percent year-on-year and keep its costs down. The company currently has about 100 staff and boasts a net profit margin of about 10 percent from annual revenues of around US$28 million.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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