Optical backbones need access aggregation

Moving to secure a place in larger carriers’ optical metro and long-haul networks, access aggregation vendor Advanced Switching Communications Inc. has introduced a new high-speed card along with new flexibility for its frame relay user interfaces.

Just before the holidays, ASC debuted the new A-7010 card for its chassis-based A-4000 product. Till now, the A-4000 has supported a maximum of 392 T-1 equivalents, mixing and matching frame relay, ATM and other WAN protocols.

The A-7010 features OC-12c/STM-4 networks links, which equals 622M bps in the optical carrier hierarchy. The A-7010 card provides high-speed aggregation of multiservice traffic directly onto an ATM backbone. Existing network connections for the A-4000 include OC-3c/STM-1 (155M bps) and T-3/E-3 connections.

With a full complement of four A-7010 cards, the A-4000 now boasts total network uplink capacities of 2.4G bps.

In the same Dec. 18 announcement, ASC introduced a new channelized T-1/E-1 frame relay option that allows carriers to serve multiple customers with bandwidth needs as low as 64K bps over a single T-1/E-1 link. While frame relay traffic needs are growing faster at higher speeds, a large number of today’s frame relay connections still utilize 64K bps port connections with a variety of subscription levels for guaranteed non-burst bandwidth – or “committed information rate” – below that level.

Until now, ASC has done a lot of second-stage DSL aggregation for local carriers. It’s also signed with multi-tenant unit telecom providers for in-building deployments of ASC’s smaller rack-unit concentrators – or the A-4000 back at the network point of presence. Finally last year, ASC inked a deal with next-generation digital loop carrier vendor Advanced Fibre Communications to offer service providers a bundle of DSL loop extension gear and cost-effective access aggregation.

Now ASC is gunning for a role in large incumbent carriers with a base of corporate frame relay traffic, as well as greenfield optical networks that threaten to take over the business with vastly increased user bandwidth at low per-unit prices.