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Alcatel-Lucent Brings Carrier Ethernet to the Edge
[February 10, 2009]

Alcatel-Lucent Brings Carrier Ethernet to the Edge

Group Editorial Director
Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) announced a new customer edge device — the 7210 Service Access Switch — which is designed to bring Carrier Ethernet to the enterprise site. Owned and managed by the service provider, the small-footprint 7210 SAS (News - Alert) was developed in response to continued growing demand from the enterprise for more (and more affordable) bandwidth for richer services and applications over Carrier Ethernet, together with high levels of quality of service.

According to the official announcement, the 7210 SAS will be deployed at the enterprise customer site or multi-tenant unit (MTU), helping service providers to increase revenue with a full suite of highly available, fully managed Ethernet and IP virtual private network (VPN) services to support demanding enterprise applications.

The new device utilizes the same operating system (Alcatel-Lucent’s Service Router Operating System, or SR OS) that has been deployed across the Alcatel-Lucent portfolio of switches and routers — numbering upwards of 30,000 switches and routers by 260 service providers in 100+ countries since 2004, according to the company’s own reckoning.
The key benefit to using a single OS is that service providers can offer a consistent set of features and management capability from the network core all the way out to the customer edge.
According to analyst firm IDC (News - Alert), the transition to Carrier Ethernet from private line opportunity was valued at approximately $40 billion worldwide in 2008.
Lindsay Newell, VP Marketing for ALU's IP activities believes that the Carrier Ethernet space is key to the company’s growth plans. In an interview, Newell told TMCnet, “We believe that Carrier Ethernet is one of the key strategic migration technologies for service providers.
“For enterprise customers – regardless of the macroeconomic environment — the bandwidth requirements only go up,” Newell said. “And the cost of providing more bandwidth on legacy (frame relay, SONET/SDH private lines) is significantly greater than switching over to packet-based infrastructure such as Carrier Ethernet and IP. So we believe that carrier CAPEX will still get spent on packet technologies such as Carrier Ethernet and IP to continue to meet the bandwidth demands from their enterprise and residential customers.”
“IDC believes this is a good product release for Alcatel-Lucent,” wrote IDC analyst Eve Griliches, in a February 2009 report entitled Alcatel-Lucent Summons the Next Phase of Carrier Ethernet Evolution. “The Carrier Ethernet framework helps define the Carrier Ethernet challenges going forward, shows how they will address them in this next year, and delivers a new product in a space that is emerging on a timely basis. We believe that other vendors will begin to deliver products similar to this but may or may not have the end-to-end SLA management.”
Another area where Carrier Ethernet will prove to be a boon for service providers is the wireless backhaul space.
As Newell told TMCnet, “…the alternative to deploying carrier Ethernet is provisioning more T1’s and E1’s, so again there’s a fairly clear ROI for carriers in terms of meeting the increased bandwidth needs in mobile backhaul.
Newell also pointed out that despite the economic conditions, this segment of Alcatel-Lucent’s business continues to perform well.
“Despite the economic downturn in Q4 our IP and Carrier Ethernet revenues in this segment increased sequentially from Q3, indicating a continued very strong demand for these types of products from service providers,” he said.
Alcatel-Lucent also announced the development of a Carrier Ethernet framework, which is designed to act as the foundation for enhanced network intelligence, new managed services and improved profitability. According to the company the new framework establishes a blueprint for delivering the next generation of broadband services and applications while helping service provider to leverage and monetize their deployed network assets.
According to the announcement:
·         The transport layer helps reduce the cost of building and operating the network to carry high volumes of business and consumer traffic, enabling the migration from legacy circuit switching to Carrier Ethernet-based packet transport
·         The services layer helps expand the reach and scale of consumer and business services, leveraging the Carrier Ethernet network for faster time to market and simplified management. This layer is boosted by the addition of the 7210 Service Access Switch
·         The application enablement layer addresses operators’ desire to leverage their network assets to develop new sources of revenue. Using this layer, Alcatel-Lucent can help service providers to optimize specific applications such as IPTV (News - Alert) over their networks and tap into additional revenue opportunities such as advertising.

Greg Galitzine is editorial director for TMC’s (News - Alert) IP Communications suite of products, including To read more of Greg’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Greg Galitzine

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