Cisco unveils GlobalDSL strategy

In an attempt to help service providers beat the barriers to DSL deployment, Cisco Systems has unveiled what it is calling its GlobalDSL strategy – a plan which has IP DSL switching as its foundation – as well as the release of IP DSL switching for the entire Cisco 6000 DSL family of products.

“The purpose of the strategy is to understand what are the roadblocks that are affecting the success of DSL as a mass market solution,” said Enzo Signore, the director of marketing for Cisco’s DSL unit.

The new strategy is divided into three parts: DSL Mobility; 100% Market and Service Reach; and IP+ATM Multi-Service Solutions.

The DSL Mobility portion of the strategy focuses on the availability of broadband to people on the go. Portable computers for example, can’t widely benefit from broadband as of yet, but when the DSL market expands, availability will increase, Cisco said.

The next part of the plan, 100% Market and Service reach, addresses the fact that the DSL subscriber market is underserved, due to what Cisco said are “distance barriers from the central office…or the lack of the right equipment to deploy premium value-added services.”

Signore said DSL is a service that today can only be provided to about 40 to 50 per cent of the addressable market in North America, which means many people can’t get DSL.

So, in relation to this, the company announced the release of the Cisco 6015 IP DSL switch, which supports IP+ATM services such as firewalls and multicast video.

“It is compact — up to 48 subscribers,” per chassis, Signore said. He added that the company has also unveiled G.shdsl (single-pair high-bit-rate DSL), a standard for symmetrical services that fundamentally extends the reach by over 30 per cent compared to existing” technologies.

And, in the final part of its strategy, Cisco addresses the need for service providers to increase their broadband DSL services.

Matthew Davis, a senior analyst in Boston at the Yankee Group, said these announcements will probably be significant.

“What they’ve done is gone out and developed a platform with IP routing integrated into it, which is going to enable a lot of value-added services in the future,” and is something that will definitely appeal to customers, Davis said.

Vectris Communications has been a Cisco customer since its inception about five months ago, according to John Moshier, the chief technology officer for the company. A DSL network provider based in Austin, Tex., Vectris provides DSL broadband access services in secondary markets and has recently inked a deal with Cisco, making the firm Vectris’ network provider.

Moshier said the Cisco announcement is important because “it represents the first significant integration at the DSLAM level.” It also adds MPLS – or an IP-VPN technology – to its DSL equipment line, he said.

“With that, it brings to me, and then ultimately to my distributors and to my end user customers, several benefits. To me it brings improved operations, ultimately leading to reduced costs. And to my customers and distributors it brings a greatly expanded set of features, mostly centred around virtual private network capabilities.”

When asked whether or not Vectris has plans to implement anything based on the recent announcements, Moshier could only say “I definitely have the equipment in my lab right now, in test mode on several things.” He said Vectris will be rolling out equipment this month, although he could not yet reveal anything more specific.

The G.shdsl will be added to the Cisco 6160, 6260 and 6015 IP DSL switch products, and will be available in the second half of 2000. The Cisco 6015 will also be available at that time, with pricing starting at US$14,000.

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