Astral Point announces transport node

Astral Point Communications Inc. added Monday a new high-end member to its product line, a modular SONET system that combines dense wave division multiplexing, add/drop multiplexing and digital cross-connect capabilities.

The ON7000 is designed to allow incumbent local exchange carriers (ILEC) to get more bang for the buck from their existing SONET infrastructures instead of overhauling their networks with native Ethernet and the alleged cost, service, provisioning and profitability benefits therein.

The ON 7000 integrates ADM, DCS and DWDM at one-sixth of the size of the current generation products it replaces. The box can aggregate up to 576 DS-3, 864 OC-3 and up to 36 OC-192 interfaces per rack, Astral Point claims.

The ON7000 can also groom to STS-1 and VT 1.5 granularity, and supports 4 terabits of bandwidth per bay and 32 wavelengths of DWDM, Astral Point says.

Astral Point’s Senior Product Manager, Chris Janson said the product was designed to leverage existing SONET infrastructures because ILECs receive 98 percent of their revenue over SONET-based services. Astral Point also touts that SONET is the only viable technology to support the revenue services of today and is evolving to support high-speed packet services.

The company claims ILECs will see capital equipment savings of more than 60 percent with the deployment of the ON 7000.

“There are over 100,000 SONET rings in the U.S. and in Canada,” says Michael Howard, principal analyst and co-founder of Infonetics Research in San Jose. “Most of these ILECs are going to have SONET rings around for a while and they may have to develop Ethernet services in a part of their networks, but most will run that service over their existing SONET rings rather than develop an entirely new network.”

Howard says the ON 7000 allows carriers to simplify their networks. Specifically, he says the cross-connect capability allows ILECs to groom locally rather than backhauling traffic to a central office.

Pricing for the ON 7000 starts at US$25,000 per node. Beta tests are expecting to begin in the third quarter at multiple ILEC sites. Availability is expected sometime in the fourth quarter, Astral Point says.

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