Sprint Canada intros IP-enabled offerings

The starting gun fired for Sprint Canada Inc. this month as the company launched its IP-Enabled Solutions – a networking suite that allows companies to tap into Sprint’s IP backbone to interoperate disparate networks – which have already been offered in the U.S. for the past year and a half.

“For some time our business customers have been telling us they want to introduce high-bandwidth applications such as voice over IP (VoIP), but that they need a solution that leverages their existing investment in equipment and networks, and is simple to manage,” said Greg McCamus, president, enterprise communications solutions, Sprint Canada.

Sprint’s IP-enabled solutions allow an asynchronous transfer mode (ATM)/Frame Relay and customer premises (CPE)-based virtual private networks (VPNs) to run on one seamless network with extended capabilities and bandwidth and do not require any upgrades on the customer’s part, McCamus said during a conference call.

“In essence, you can think of this as a set of gateways that allow the customer to connect into Sprint’s IP backbone, without replacing old technologies,” explained Ian Angus, president of Angus TeleManagement Group Inc., in Ajax, Ont. It allows companies to integrate their disparate networks over the IP backbone to create one seamless network, he said.

This network setup would allow companies to run high-bandwidth applications. And, because of Sprint Canada’s partnership with Sprint in the U.S., McCamus said it makes network integration easier for companies with locations all across the continent.

There are five different products in the IP-Enabled Solution family, including IP VPN Services, Localized Internet Services, Managed Network Services, Remote Access Services and Security Services. The IP VPN Services will allow a user to take advantage of the public Internet to connect a WAN.

Localized Internet services allow customers to access the Internet via a high-quality connection from all remote sites. This eliminates the need for an additional loop at the host location for Internet access and reduces the bandwidth load over your WAN, Sprint said.

Managed Network Services is a subscription service whereby Sprint monitors, reports, configures and manages change throughout the user’s network.

Sprint also offers Remote Access Services in two flavours – private and public. With private Remote Access services, a user’s data is sent across Sprint’s private backbone. With Public Remote access, user traffic is carried securely over the public Internet to Sprint Canada’s Virtual Router and Network Firewall, the company said, removing the requirement for CPE firewalls, additional routers and accesses at a user’s host.

Traditionally, Angus said, companies usually have to implement new technology in order to get new functionality, but with Sprint’s IP-Enabled Solutions, the customer won’t have to – the onus is on Sprint to offer the service and the technology as compared to simply offering the service.

“I think this will be particularly attractive to mid-sized, multi-location organizations,” Angus said, adding that large companies usually have integration capabilities of their own.

He also said these offerings differ from what competitor Bell Canada is offering with regards to IP because Bell is essentially offering IP Centrex, where users are buying network-based IP services, but with Sprint customers would be a purchasing mixed-premises solution.

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