Startup intros box for low-cost aggregation

Startup Seranoa Networks Inc. this month launched products designed to provide IP service providers with a less-expensive alternative to edge aggregation routers from Cisco Systems Inc., Juniper Networks Inc. and other equipment vendors.

The company’s WANport T3 Edge Concentrators are “IP-aware” Layer 2 switches targeted at facilities-based ISPs. The products are intended to enable ISPs to avoid performance degradation and rising costs associated with adding subscriber capacity and new IP services to their networks.

The majority of edge router cost is associated with line cards for subscriber aggregation, Seranoa says. And as advanced IP services are deployed, the throughput of the edge router becomes nearly impossible to predict, the company claims.

ISPs, therefore, face an ongoing challenge to cost-effectively aggregate and manage the increasing number of subscriber channels arriving at their network’s points of presence (POPs). A mismatch in performance and economics occurs at these POPs, with channelized data flowing into the I/O ports of edge routers at aggregate speeds lower than the typical edge router is capable of supporting, and at a cost higher than necessary, Seranoa asserts.

Consequently, ISPs cannot widely deploy services that are processor-intensive on their edge routers, such as Multilink PPP and IP class of service, the company says.

Global NAPs, a national provider of Internet and leased transport services to other service providers, says the savings from Seranoa equipment could be passed on to its customers.

“Neat product,” says Barton Bruce, vice-president of technology at Global NAPs. “With a Seranoa box, we could take a T-3 and drop 12 T-3s each into 12 separate central offices, and say, ‘OK, fellas, we have bargain-basement prices for T-1s delivered to the following 12 cities.'”

Seranoa’s WANport concentrators front-end existing edge routers to produce cost, capacity and performance benefits over the procurement of additional routers or subscriber line cards to expand a POP, Seranoa claims. The one-rack-unit-high devices aggregate up to 12 channelized T-3 access circuits onto redundant Gigabit Ethernet trunks for connectivity to edge routers.

As a result, WANport concentrators reduce subscriber port costs by 75 per cent, multiply subscriber capacity by five or more, and boost processor support for IP services, Seranoa claims.

The WANport T-3 Edge Concentrators support a mix of DS-3, NxDS-1, DS-1, NxDS-0, and DS-0 subscriber access channels. They are available now at a cost of US$48,000.

Seranoa, based in Boxborough, Mass., was founded in 2000. It has US$15.8 million in venture funding from St. Paul Venture Capital, YankeeTek Ventures, Advent International, FA Technology Ventures and Schoffstall Ventures.