Sprint Joins PBT Club
According to industry sources, the Ciena Ethernet gear has also been deployed to backhaul traffic at Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), where PBB-TE – aka, Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) -- is the transport technology being used. Our sources say that Ciena has multiple carriers using PBT for backhaul, some of which are for commercial WiMax, across three continents. (See PBT/PBB-TE Guide: Vendor Talk, PBT Sidelined at BT, and To PBB or Not to PBB?)
It makes sense for Clearwire to adopt the Ciena platforms along with Sprint because the companies will need to get on the same technology roadmap as their proposed merger of Clearwire and Sprint's Xohm WiMax assets nears completion. (See Sprint, Clearwire Create $14.5B WiMax Giant, Clearwire: We'll Kick LTE's Butt, Clearwire: We're Still on Track, and Clearwire Has Cash for 'at Least' 12 Months .) Sprint's first deployments of Ciena's equipment will be in Xohm's Baltimore/Washington and Chicago networks. And Sprint's first Xohm launch in Baltimore is imminent. (See Sprint: More on B'More, Sprint's WiMax Laundry List, and Sprint Preps Four New WiMax Markets.)
Sprint will use Ciena's LE-311v service delivery switches and the CN 5305 service aggregation switches, which both use PBB-TE. Ciena gained and rebranded those products after it acquired World Wide Packets Inc. early this year. (See Ciena Takes Out World Wide Packets, PBT Key to Ciena Acquisition, Did Ciena Overpay for WWP?, and WWP Combines MPLS, PBT.)
"This is a major win in the backhaul space and a major win for our newly acquired products," says Taylor Salman, solutions marketing director at Ciena.
For Ciena, the deal with Sprint is significant as the vendor positions itself in the mobile backhaul space.
“This is an important proof-point for Ciena in terms of a pure Ethernet WiMax deployment such as Sprint’s Xohm,” says Patrick Donegan, senior analyst at Heavy Reading. "Going forward, the largest part of the available new generation backhaul equipment market consists of the 2G and 3G cellular networks with their demand for support of multiple legacy protocols such as TDM and ATM as well as IP/Ethernet.”
The deal with Ciena rounds out Sprint's Ethernet-based backhaul strategy, which includes using Ethernet microwave equipment from DragonWave Inc. (AIM/Toronto: DWI; Nasdaq: DRWI) and buying Ethernet backhaul services from FiberTower Corp. (See Sprint Rides DragonWave for Backhaul.)
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung