The Story So Far From SUPERCOMM 2004:

Network equipment manufacturers try to build complexity management into their NGN offerings.

June 21, 2004

3 Min Read
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The message from last year's SUPERCOMM conference has resonated clearly with vendors and exhibitors showing their wares in Chicago this week. Both carriers and enterprise users are sick and tired of managing the extreme complexity associated with network convergence, and if they can help it, they are not going to take it any more. To that end, the focus of many early announcements revolves around managing the complexity created by reconciling the alphabet soup of protocols and technologies that characterize next-generation-network management.

Testing for VoIP over MPLS

Attendees are watching with great interest to see what happens this week with the University of New Hampshire's InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL), as the talent there teams up with the European Advanced Networking Test Center (EANTC) to jointly showcase how VoIP can flow over an MPLS core. The test bed is also testing several proposed MPLS-related protocols, including Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) and Hierarchical Virtual Private LAN Service (H-VPLS). These newer MPLS protocols will be tested in a "real-world" multi-vendor setting. (Editor's Note: A follow up on how they performed is in the works for later in the week.)

But the VoIP-over-MPLS demo is an important test, because if it is demonstrated to work effectively, it can facilitate carrier introductions of unified voice, data and video networks (the so-called triple play which at this point is less common in the networking industry than it is on baseball diamond.)

NEC Takes an Integrated Transport Approach to Optical NetworkingNEC America, Inc. unveiled a new family of optical networking products, including its soon-to-be released Integrated Transport Node (ITN). ITN is a control plane-driven family of products that officials say provides a universal optical switching core, aggregation, and distribution feature set and offers pluggable service interfaces on the edge. NEC believes that carriers will be attracted to this distributed model for optical network management because it allows network operators to drive functionality and performance incrementally across the network.

RBN's Multi-Service Edge Aggregation Supports Service on Demand

RBN Inc, a designer and manufacturer of carrier-class reconfigurable optical transport solutions for metro and access networks, launched its new RBNi GigaEdge 2330, a Multi Service Provisioning Platform (MSPP) designed to provide carriers the ability to offer Service on Demand. The product multiplexes SAN, Ethernet, SONET and/or SDH services onto what officials call a protected aggregate. It can be used in standalone configuration, or as a service aggregator into a SONET, SDH or WDM network. The announcement of the new product comes on the heels a just-signed five-year reseller agreement with Marconi. (Interesting note: RBN's technology development was supported by an AusIndustry Start Grant from the Australian Federal Government.)

Level 3 Uses Channel to Expand IP VPN Services in U.S., Europe

Level 3 Communications took advantage of the SUPERCOMM 2004 venue in Chicago this week to unveil an expansion of its IP VPN services by adding channel partners to its sales strategy in pursuit of the enterprise market. Additionally, Level 3 executives report that they are making available a new set of lower speed data services offerings that can run over its wide-area Ethernet, ATM and Frame Relay data networks.0

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