Network Equipment Makers Tout Flexibility, Reliability

At Supercomm, infrastructure manufacturers will unveil a host of technologies designed for easy and cost-effective upgrading.

As service providers and enterprises continue the migration to IP networking, it is clear that services and applications will evolve rapidly. To give network operators the flexibility to handle applications that may still be unknown, infrastructure manufacturers this week at the Supercomm conference and expo in Chicago will unveil a host of technologies designed for easy and cost-effective upgrading.

Funk Software Inc., a Cambridge, Mass., maker of network access security and policy management software, will announce the beta testing phase of its Steel-Belted Radius/Session Control Server, a policy server that gives carriers more control over users sessions. The server is designed to make it easier for carriers to deliver or upgrade services on demand and offer new services. It also allows them to put a quick stop to unauthorized or fraudulent use of the network.

MRV Communications Inc., a maker of access technologies in Chatsworth, Calif., will launch the OptiSwitch 9000 series of carrier-grade metro Ethernet routers. The OS9000 routers aggregate Gigabit Ethernet links and provide enhanced Ethernet/IP/MPLS services and WDM (wave division multiplexing) long-distance transport.

The new routers enable remote service monitoring and configuration, giving carriers a less expensive and flexible way to provide new services. Carriers can combine Ethernet, IP and WDM technologies in the same infrastructure, choosing whichever technology is right for deploying new services under specific circumstances. MRV touts the "all-in-one" architecture as a way to simplify the network and set the stage for delivering multimedia services.

Hughes Network Systems LLC, a Gemantown, Md., company known for its focus on providing connectivity via satellite, is rolling out a new managed service to give enterprises more choices in their connectivity. With the new Direcway Unified Broadband, enterprises can choose whatever access technology is right for each site. The offering includes frame relay, satellite and DSL services for now, but Hughes plans to add more broadband access options in the future.

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A number of vendors and carriers this week will tout survivability technologies and services to make converged network services as reliable as traditional services. Telco Systems of Foxboro, Mass., will roll out a standards-based IP Ethernet ring technology for carriers, enabling the network to recover from outages in 15 milliseconds. If the network goes down because of a cut cable, power outage or equipment failure, it will be transparent to end users, whether theyre using voice, data or video applications.

To enable IP-based carrier networks to deliver the historic "five nines" service quality of the old-time phone network, Solid Information Technology Inc., of Cupertino, Calif., is rolling out Version 4.5K of its data management software, which includes what SIT calls a unique failover-transparent link. The new CarrierGrade Connection in the software retains the link between applications and databases after a network failure or switchover to reduce the failover time. If the active connection goes down, the driver switches to a standby, retaining the same link for the application. The new version also includes the ability to back up across the network, which comes in handy for databases without enough local storage for both the database and backup.

To provide more secure storage methods, WilTel Communications Inc. is introducing a suite of managed wide-area storage extension technologies for disaster recovery and business continuity. Particularly suited to companies conducting remote data storage, recovery and backup, WilTel is championing the new offerings as affordable ways to expand storage area networking over Ethernet.

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