Polaris Networks aims to freeze out T-1 problems

Polaris Networks Inc. last month introduced its next-generation digital cross-connect system and software that it says will reduce the provisioning time for popular T-1 circuits.

Called the Optical Metro Switch (OMX), the Polaris box supports automated provisioning via its IntelliOp management software. Polaris says its gear will reduce the time it takes to provision these circuits from weeks or months to days by eliminating manual steps.

The software includes a network planner that lets engineers model changes to the network and analyze how they will affect performance before implementing them. If a business customer needs to add a major connection, the service provider can discover the impact and make appropriate alterations before trying to turn up the circuit.

IntelliOp also supports software upgrades without turning off the machines, so carriers can install software revisions without interrupting customer service.

OMX is smaller than traditional gear and has a switching fabric that will support ATM, IP, Gigabit Ethernet, SONET and TDM. When it ships later this year, it will support only TDM and Synchronous Transfer Mode transport, but also will support other protocols by the end of 2003, Polaris says.

The device can act as a bridge between older and newer equipment in carrier nets by virtue of supporting multiple protocols.

Traditional cross-connects do not have the ability to switch these other traffic types. Instead they rely on gear around them to do so. By performing the functions of these other pieces of equipment, such as SONET add-drop multiplexers and ATM concentrators, the OMX can reduce the amount of gear in provider networks. This approach decreases the capital outlay to build a network, and fewer devices to manage means lower operating costs, the company says.

The device can groom circuits as small as a T-1 and place them on the appropriate trunks. T-1s are among the most popular circuit sizes bought by businesses. Continued demand for these circuits drives the need for cross-connects in carrier networks. The device supports OC-192 SONET trunks, but later the company will introduce DS-3 and OC-3 trunks.

Polaris was founded in June 2000 by Ray Kao, who earlier founded TransMedia (bought by Cisco Systems Ltd.).