Supercomm at mid-slump: here-and-now focus pervades vendor plans

Supercomm at mid-slump: here-and-now focus pervades vendor plans – Supercomm Preview

Joan Engebretson

In making any infrastructure decisions, network operators clearly are focused on the here and now–a theme that seems to pervade almost all product announcements planned for the telecom industry’s premiere Supercomm show in Atlanta June 2 through 5.


DSL remains unfinished business in the telecom world, and that’s why vendors still need to present new ideas.

Video over DSL continues to be a hot topic, as illustrated by plays by Next Level and Stellar One.

“A major theme for the show for us is evangelizing and educating service providers about what is required to provide cable-competitive and satellite-competitive services,” says Geoff Burke, Next Level’s director of marketing services. Next Level will be touting its RG 2200 gateways, which include both ADSL and VDSL versions. “The result is a platform that offers seamless handoffs from VDSL to ADSL,” he says.


Stellar One will showcase not only its middleware solution but its Media On Demand division, which offers services and gear.

“With this set of services, the middleware will be a component and packaged with the CPE,” says Vickey Callen, executive vice president of marketing and strategic development for Stellar One. The company is also working with a major consumer electronics company and several access providers.

The solution is also vendor-neutral, she says, so providers don’t have to use the Stellar One middleware. “The value for service providers is in time to market and support to the skills they don’t have in getting ready to do video.”

On a more intricate level, Texas Instruments is moving DSL forward with its AR7 single-chip ADSL router. “This is our Pentium,” says Ben Wagner, director of worldwide marketing & business development for TI’s DSL business unit. The offering includes major chips and hundreds of passives on one piece of silicon, and it uses a single power supply, resulting in 18% to 25% lower rest of bill of materials.

Celite Systems has joined the DSL fray with its DSL headend offering. “A DSL headend allows broadband over copper in a cable-like fashion,” says Tim Waters, vice president of sales and marketing for Celite. “The operator can broadcast one to many as opposed to point-to-point” as is the case with traditional DSL, he says. That, in turn, reduces the number of DSLAM ports, he says. At the show, Celite will be highlighting its DSL headend offering for campus and MDU environments..


Although the optical networking sector has been in a deep freeze since early 2001, many optical suppliers appear focused on selling products that require incremental capital investment and also appear to assure a near-term return.

Metrobility Optical Systems will unveil its RA21 Optical Networking unit that enables optical Ethernet services through a point-to-point fiber-based network infrastructure.

The product allows service providers to create a scalable Ethernet WAN solution that reduces the cost of delivering metro access services. “New revenue opportunities exist for service providers looking to offer first mile broadband services, making the metro access market one of the few bright lights in a weakened telecom sector,” says Alex Saunders, Metrobility’s CEO.

The solution provides a comprehensive set of operation, administration and maintenance features that align with the pending recommendations contained in the IEEE 802.3ah standard, a draft Ethernet standard.

Among the new entrants this year will be Photonic Bridges, maker of the MetroWave MSTP product family. The China-based company, founded in 2000, is offering a product that integrates advanced features for managing voice and data traffic. “By combining western values, training and management style with the cost-effectiveness and innovation of today’s Chinese telecom market, Photonic Bridges effectively bridges the best of two cultures and technologies,” says company CEO Gerlad Wong.



In the IP networking area, Allot Communications will debut what it claims to be the industry’s first wire-speed gigabit QoS bandwidth and SLA management appliance.

“We’ve created a hardware and software platform that does gigabit speed at Layer 7,” says Allot Americas CEO P.G. Narayanan. Previously, he says, Layer 7 traffic faced a 200 Mbps barrier, but the higher-speed support makes Allot’s NetEnforcer AC-1000 suitable for use in service provider points of presence.

Service providers can use the device to let business customers monitor and manage their own IP networks, to manage network over-subscription and to monitor phenomenon such as denial of service attacks.

In the VoIP and softswitch area, General Bandwidth will be adding IP Centrex and northbound MGCP/TGCP and SIP support to its G6 media gateway.

IPUnity is adding embedded support for speech recognition and SIP XML to its media server. The latter opens the product to a wider group of developers, says Brett Azuma, IPUnity senior vice president of marketing.

The company also is improving the text-to-speech functionality built into its unified messaging system. Finally, IPUnity’s videoconferencing system will now support recording and indexing.


Analyst firms are optimistic that the operations support system market will be one of the first to bounce back–Insight Research Group predicts that worldwide OSS revenues will increase by 11% in 2003–and early buzz indicates that OSS vendors are crossing their fingers that the predictions are correct.

Vendors are planning to showcase products designed to save service providers money by allowing them more efficient use of their networks. ACE*COMM will be unveiling N*Score, a churn risk engine that collects customer usage patterns and cross references them against known churn risk factors, allowing the carrier to rank each customer’s propensity to churn.

Agilent will expand its access7 Business Intelligence product suite, introducing a new analytic tool that will extract and interrogate information from the SS7 network.

Other vendors are focusing on the service layer. CoManage will introduce TrueSource 4.0, which analyzes inaccuracies in OSS databases, which can derail service provisioning and management processes.

Telcordia plans to debut an inventory activation product intended to help service providers eliminate manual provisioning. Telcordia will demonstrate the integration of the product with Granite Systems’ Xng inventory management solution at the show, although the product can be integrated with all third party integration systems.

On the service management side, TTI Telecom will be announcing plans to expand its Netrac solution to include customer network management capabilities.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Advanstar Communications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group