Business Success Story: Providing Network Performance at the Speed of LightRiver

The Company

LightRiver Technologies
Twitter: @lightriver_tech

Optical network integrator LightRiver Technologies designs, engineers, commissions and supports next-generation solutions for mission-critical clients that require the highest capacity, reliability and resiliency that today’s optical communications technology can deliver.

The Client

Headquartered in Albany, New York, FirstLight Fiber is a leading provider of high-speed data, internet, data center and voice services to enterprise and carrier customers in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont over the company’s own fiber optic network. FirstLight’s clien­tele includes national cellular providers and wireline carriers and enterpris­es spanning high-tech manufacturing and re­search, hospitals and health care, banking and financial, secondary education, colleges and universities, and local and state governments.

The Challenge

For more than 15 years, FirstLight has been building and operating its own fiber optic network. With the acquisition of Lebanon, New Hampshire-based segTEL in 2011, and the assets of Vermont-based TelJet in 2013 and G4 Communications in 2014, the company’s 275,000 fiber-mile network today connects more than 2,000 carrier and enterprise customers in five states, with connectivity to Canada.

While each of the acquired companies was good at moving network traffic around their respective regional networks, their networks were disparate, with multiple equipment types and software versions. Simply linking them would have created a complicated system with high latency, due to the number of nodes data would have to traverse to reach its final destination. FirstLight needed to combine the networks in a unified platform that leveraged best-in-breed technology to “future-proof” the network, while at the same time enable ubiquitous 100 Gbps connectivity and eventually scale to 200 Gbps and 400 Gbps capabilities.{ad}

FirstLight needed the unified platform to interconnect its key markets, allow the company to continue the organic growth of its native network and take advantage of potential strategic network-expansion opportunities in the future.

The Solution

FirstLight’s needs for a unified platform called for a design that seamlessly adapted to changing bandwidth needs, inter­connected its key markets, was cost effective and was able to handle its long-haul needs. It was crucial the platform be flexible enough to allow for easy insertion of…


…traffic along its route and capable of expanding into future markets without a complete redesign or forklift upgrade.

After an in-depth analysis of available and road map technologies by LightRiver and FirstLight technical, operations and exec­utive teams LightRiver designed a network solu­tion to FirstLight’s exact specifications. Ciena, one of the industry’s top network specialists and valued LightRiver partner, was crucial in enabling the 100 Gbps network upgrade. LightRiver’s design utilized Ciena’s 6500 Packet Optical Platform equipped with third-generation WaveLogic Coherent Optics as its Core network platform

FirstLight also needed a plat­form that would be able to better manage, monitor and control network performance. FirstLight chose Ciena’s OneControl Unified Management System, which provides simple point-and-click service provisioning to enable faster service turn-up and end-to-end visibility of network performance.{ad}

The Results

FirstLight is now well positioned to provide Ethernet and wavelength services at nearly every granularity up to 100 Gpbs ubiquitously across its network. The LightRiver and Ciena long-haul DWDM platform is among the best on the market, and with the multidegree reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexer (ROADM), FirstLight has the flexibility to add capacity to existing markets while simplifying the addition of new markets as the company continues to expand.

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