CHICAGO -- International Telecom Week -- Network operators are getting smarter in tailoring their network services to the needs of large enterprises as the latter move more resources to the cloud and look for a wider range of affordable high-speed, low-latency services that also come with a greater degree of network diversity.
So at this week's International Telecom Week, expect to hear a lot from network operators about how they are investing to improve their service mix in specific, enterprise-friendly ways. Two such announcements come in the show's opening hour: Electric Lightwave doubling its network routes to offer more diversity and data center connectivity; and Hibernia Networks adding a protected wavelength service on its transatlantic fiber routes.
Electric Lightwave back in business
Competitive carrier Electric Lightwave today is touting new success under its old name. Since taking back the original brand name a year ago and operating under its parent company, Integra Telecom Inc. , Electric Lightwave has doubled its network routes and increased sales volume of fiber-based services by about 300%, the company's top exec says. (See Electric Lightwave Doubles Long-Haul Routes.)
A big chunk of that growth came from Integra's purchase of opticAccess, a company which operated a 3,500-route mile network from Seattle to San Diego, including a metro San Francisco network. But Electric Lightwave also has been strategically investing to reach more businesses and building up specific routes that tie in key data centers in its Washington state base recently, says President Dan Stoll. What it can now offer its customers is greater route diversity, with two routes traversing the West Coast, and unique connections, such as a route between Hillsboro, Ore., a key data center area, to the Bay Area without touching Portland, Stoll says.
"In today's world, businesses want diversity but they don't want to sacrifice latency," Stoll says. Many of the diverse routes from Los Angeles north travel through Salt Lake City, he notes, whereas Electric Lightwave can now offer diverse routes that deliver lower latency and more direct connections. "We have gotten really smart in focusing on how we can architect the network to drive diversity and low-latency and answer what our customers are asking for," he says.
Electric Lightwave resumed use of its original brand about a year ago, as part of an Integra sales strategy that created two separate units -- Electric Lightwave and Integra Business -- and focused the former on the largest enterprises, along with government units.
Hibernia automates failover on undersea connections:
Building on the success of its Hibernia Express, the network operator is introducing what it says is the first ever protected wavelength service on a transatlantic route, giving customers automated sub-50 millisecond failover for their wavelengths. (See Hibernia Offers Protected Wavelengths on Undersea Routes.)
Prior to having this service available, enterprises needing that kind of protection had to buy multiple wavelengths on their own and manage the backup process in house, notes Al DiGabriele, senior vice president of product management and marketing for Hibernia. "We have a unique set of assets in the transatlantic market, which offers us the opportunity to offer this kind of unparalleled resiliency."
Those assets include three separate transatlantic cables -- a north route, a south route and the Express, which was built on the shortest route possible across the Atlantic and, where possible, in shallower water. Hibernia has been able to deliver 58.9 millisecond latency on that route.
Obviously that appeals to markets such as financial services, but low latency is increasingly important to a wider range of business, DiGabriele says. "They may not need 58.9 milliseconds but more businesses are concerned about latency, and we have seen a tremendous uptick in demand for the Express."
Hibernia expects this new capability to be a competitive advantage as well.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading