Broadwing Announces Layer 2/3 MPLS

Broadwing Communications LLC (Booth 511) this week has divulged that in June it will introduce new Layer 2 and Layer 3 MPLS solutions. Both will be based on the Tellabs 8860 Managed Service Switch Router, which does switching and routing in one chassis, and with one network management system.

While several other service providers, including AT&T Corp., have been offering MPLS-based Layer 3 solutions for some time, Jamey Heinze, Broadwings director of product management for data services, told the CompTel/ASCENT Show Daily in a Jan. 21 interview that Broadwing stands alone in providing an MPLS solution supporting both Layer 2 and Layer 3 services.

Layer 3, or routed, VPNs handle IP applications only and require managed routing for each customer. Layer 2, or switched, VPLS supports any protocol over the MPLS backbone and provides customers a higher level of security, according to Heinze, because they get to manage their own routing tables. A Layer 2 VPN creates a big local area network, so the customer can run their WAN like they run their LAN today, Heinze continues. It looks like a large-bridged Ethernet topology.

Customers can attach to either the Layer 2 or Layer 3 service options via a variety of connections including Ethernet, private line, ATM or frame relay.

We can do point-to-point and any-to-any WANs, Heinze says. The MPLS solution enables new applications like unified messaging and VoIP.

Broadwing will offer four QoS levels for its MPLS services. That will include a standard/best effort level; a standard data rate, which is a committed information rate for a certain port; a priority data option, which Heinze says is akin to a ATMs virtual bit rate; and the highest level of service is called voice. This is true QoS support, Heinze says. The way Tellabs addresses QoS is really fantastic. Theyve taken the best of ATM algorithms and applied them to MPLS.

Heinze was not ready to provide pricing information during an interview in January, but said pricing will start at fractional T1. The customer will buy a port speed and get full bandwidth at best effort up to that port speed and buy premium traffic handling on top in kilobit or megabit increments.

As a footnote, Heinze adds that Ethernet has long been touted in the United States as the next great thing. But carriers in Asia are much further along in Ethernet and VPLS, he says. We just had Broadwing at PTC [05 event Jan. 16-19 in Hawaii] and had three Asian carriers saying were so excited youre doing VPLS, we are dying to have a partner to do VPLS with and we have no one to connect to in the U.S.

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