Alcatel’s ‘Non-Stop’ Router

French equipment manufacturer Alcatel has the answer to
software upgrades and network downtime crashing networks, announcing Monday
a router that delivers ‘non-stop’ routing for three delivery protocols

The Alcatel Carrier Environment Internet System (ACEIS) gives companies
that require rock-solid connectivity for IP data transfers, ranging from
e-commerce purchases to financial transactions, without worry over dropouts.

According to Vinay Rathore, Alcatel’s broadband networking division’s
director of strategic marketing, IP has a bad reputation for unreliability
— even among the carrier’s who provide the service.

“Look at AT&T, which provides virtual private networking (VPN) service to
it’s customers,” he said. “That’s traditionally an IP service, but they
run the service on their ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) network because
they don’t trust their network.”

ACEIS is a software/hardware enhancement that runs, for the time being,
only on Alcatel’s 7770 routing core and switching platforms.

Niel Ransom, recently
installed
Alcatel chief technology officer, said the increasing role of
IP in everyday telecom services calls for increased router performance.

“Broadband access, voice and mobile networks are becoming increasingly
reliant upon IP, and Alcatel’s proven leadership in understanding and
deploying carrier class networking will enable us to deliver this
breakthrough technology,” he said. “ACEIS is a key requirement for moving
the existing IP infrastructure to the next phase of its evolution, allowing
carriers to offer mission critical services over a highly reliable IP network.

Ransom is talking about the industry-standard IP guarantee of 99.999
percent uptime, a figure that translates to five minutes out of an entire
year. To the average Joe Internet user, that time is a pittance. But,
like Albert Einstein famously pointed out, time is relative.

To put it another way, corporations live and die by their ability to
provide Internet connectivity and services, no matter the time or
place. According to the Contingency Planning Research, every minute of
downtime for an e-commerce site translates to $107,500.

“Service providers cannot ask banks and government agencies to migrate
mission-critical applications to IP infrastructures without providing the
assurances that network performance will not be degraded from today’s ATM
and circuit infrastructures,” said Dr. John Ryan, chief analyst at telecom
research and consulting firm RHK.

ACEIS is designed to run on platforms using border gateway protocol (BGP),
intermediate system to intermediate systems (IS-IS) and open shortest path
first (OSPF) protocols.

Ben Crosby, a senior technologist at Alcatel, said networking has come a
long way from the early 90s, when carriers were more worried about building
up its networks and the choices were relatively easy to correct.

“Back when networks were new, hitting the reset button and waiting for it
to synch up again was enough,” he said. “Today, networks are much more
complex, and the time it takes for routers to come back online is too long
for many companies.”

Alcatel officials haven’t announced a timetable for public ACEIS
availability, but plan on demonstrating the technology at Supercomm 2002 in
June.

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