No Optical Illusion: Carriers Focus on Strategy

A two-session track hosted by Cisco Systems Inc. will focus on strategies for carriers wishing to put fiber-optic technology to use. Session leader Chris Hurst, Cisco area vice president, will tackle optical architectures and optical business models with help from a range of service providers. The panelists will take a multifaceted approach to show carriers, resellers and service providers the real world value of optics, which allow near real-time transport over light waves.

Steve Courter, CEO of NEON Communications, and Mike Jones, CTO for Broadwing Inc. will discuss choices and technology points for deploying an optical network. NEON Communications is a facilities-based bandwidth provider with a network of more than 160 PoPs. Its high-capacity SONET over geographically diverse fiber routes provides a fully redundant bandwidth solution, while the company’s dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) services allow extensive capacity coursing, the company says. Broadwings nationwide, all-optically switched network is controlled from an intelligent, remote-management system that enables near real-time provisioning, using fiber with DWDM and Corvis optical switching technology.

Optical networks may get you from point A to point B, but they also allow carriers to optimize their business models. Kelly Dyer, CEO of Indiana Fiber Network LLC (IFN), and Lynn Refer, CEO of Looking Glass Networks, will discuss how this works during the second session of the track.

IFN was formed in March of 2002 as a cooperative of 18 independent operating companies and one CLEC in Indiana. Using DWDM and SONET technologies, the companies combined their networks into about 1,000 route miles of fiber-optic cable. IFN provides the 19 members with switched access transport, capacity leasing, special access, ISP backbone transport and services, SS7 A link consolidation and video signal transport, along with other data, voice and video services.

The network is engineered to be in a fully protected ring configuration. IFN has access to at least 40 trained technicians throughout Indiana to insure rapid response time to any failure on the network, who monitor the network 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Its a way to combine resources and maximize profit, says Dyer. Its also a way for small companies to keep their independence and still look large.

Refer will take a different approach and discuss flexibility. Looking Glass, which offers dark fiber, colocation, lit bandwidth and fiber-optic design services, uses a star topology for every fiber-optic network ring, where every building on the network is physically connected to a central node site via diverse paths, supporting point-to-point and hub service as needed. Also, hub and end-link circuit configuration allows carriers to connect several remote locations to a hub site in a point-to-multi-point configuration at multiple interface rates. The Looking Glass node site houses the core optical equipment and serves as the end-link aggregation point, providing connectivity between the hub and the various end-link circuits.

Requirements drive the engineering architecture for delivering a service, explains Refer. That helps you minimize capital expense. So we have six different equipment vendors in the network, and we choose the platform according to customer needs.

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