Cisco refines Long-Reach Ethernet plans

Cisco Systems Inc. launched a set of training and deployment tools as an adjunct to its LRE (Long-Reach Ethernet) solution, which is designed to deliver high-speed broadband to multi-tenant buildings over existing copper lines.

The company’s TIP (Total Implementation Package) training program consists of a set of best practices that rectify the challenges of doing a network installation. Those challenges can be compounded with LRE, because the technology is aimed at older buildings that were not designed with advanced network infrastructures in mind.

“Historically, a lot of vendors have provided the pieces of a solution, without weaving it together through integration, configuration, or reference designs,” said Steve Nye, general manager for Cisco’s broadband building unit. “We thought we could reinvigorate the market by showing our partners how to do site surveys, network designs, and acceptance testing, so when they finish deployment they can certify that it’s ready to go.”

Cisco also announced partnerships with six IT giants – Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., NCR Corp., Unisys Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc., and Getronics NV (a Dutch network and application infrastructure company) – that have been trained in TIP. Those companies will now become deployment partners in Cisco’s ongoing multitenant Ethernet initiative.

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco also announced deals with GRIC of Milpitas, Calif., and NCR, in Dayton, Ohio, as part of its CIMO (Cisco Internet Mobile Office) initiative. The partnerships will advance Cisco’s goal of installing Cisco-certified networks in public buildings, thereby delivering high-speed, secure Internet access to mobile users who want to connect to their corporate networks.

The CIMO plan has a global footprint, too. According to Nye, Cisco was interested in GRIC and NCR’s operations in Europe and Asia.

In February, Cisco launched its LRE solution, which is aimed at hotels, apartment buildings, educational facilities, and low-rise commercial properties. Customers can purchase speeds of either 5Mbps, 10Mbps, or 15Mbps, and Cisco claims that the technology can send data over distances of 3,500 feet, 4,000 feet, or 5,000 feet, respectively, over any grade of wire.

Nye said that business has been booming for LRE. “Hotels used to look at high-speed access as a bit of a novelty,” he said. “But their customers have come to expect it, and now [the hotels] look at it as a competitive edge.”