Geekspeak: February 4, 2002

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2002-02-04 Print this article Print

Future is now for optical nets.

Broadwing, formed in 1999 by a merger of IXC Communications and Cincinnati Bell, has the first all-optical network with paying customers. The network consists of about 18,500 miles of long-haul IP fiber, which lowers the number of times a signal must be regenerated to every 2,500 miles or so. This also means the network will likely be provisioned less often, allowing Broadwing to charge less. Broadwings Corvis-based equipment includes switching multiplexers that eliminate the need for some electrical switches. The other advantage is that Broadwing can provision the network faster, enabling its customers—which include enterprises and ISPs—to buy and use bandwidth faster than ever.

Its always interoperability and the last mile that count most. Broadwings all-optical network is a good start, but it will be a while before we all have fiber running to our houses.

As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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