XO Communications Braces For
The Impending Optical Bandwidth Rush
Business recovery, new technology
and new regulations are driving an ever expanding need for high
XO Communications is bracing itself for the optical
bandwidth rush that's nearly imminent. Optical bandwidth rush?
Are you kidding? Didn't bandwidth demand go poof with the telecom
bubble? Yeah, well that was then and this is now.
Everything is Going Online
The telecom bust that ended the last century is the stuff of
legends. It persists despite the recovery of the stock market
and a transformation in business practices that's processing
and bandwidth intensive. Just the business recovery alone could
be enough to sop-up previous excess bandwidth build-out. But
consider what else is happening. B2C and even B2B purchasing
is moving more and more online. Design, manufacturing and customer
service is outsourcing, often offshore. Paper based contracts,
specifications, drawings and manufacturing instructions are all
going electronic with direct electronic transfer preferred. Sarbanes-Oxley
regulations are upping the demands for reporting and storage
of financial data for public companies.
Every one of these activities is driving
processing power, memory, electronic storage and LAN bandwidth.
But as these IT infrastructures build up, the pressure increases
to move massive amounts of data rapidly beyond the corporate
walls. This is what is starting to fuel the bandwidth rush. Right
now you see it in an expansion of T1 and T3 private lines between
locations or to an MPLS network cloud. The copper line infrastructure
is readily available and inexpensive. Higher bandwidth options
are not universally available or are SONET based TDM circuits
that require extensive engineering and long provisioning times.
XO's Bet On The Future
XO is also betting that fiber is the future. But not just more
of the same fiber optic rings and point-to-point OCx connections.
The future, as XO is planning for it, is based on high bandwidths,
readily available, in multiple formats and rapidly provisioned.
To make this possible, they've just brought a new generation
inter-city fiber optic network online. The core network is running
at 100 Gbps now, with expansion planned to 400 Gbps. That network
spans 18,000 route miles to connect 75 major U.S. metropolitan
markets. In addition, XO owns 9,100 route miles or 1 million
fiber miles of local fiber networks in 37 metro markets.
Even more important than all this interconnecting
fiber and the 4 to 10x bandwidth increase in network capacity,
is the high density digital switching system provided by Infinera.
Infinera's DTN system consists of 100 GB pluggable line cards
based on photonic integrated circuits that make digital processing
of analog wavelengths and their sub-wavelength signals more efficient
that previous designs. The result is rapid provisioning and upgrades
to customer services.
Available Bandwidth Services
What WAN services are available? XO's legacy DS1 through OC-48
intercity data services are expanded to include private line
services at OC-192 speeds, Gigabit Ethernet, 10Gig Ethernet,
and 40 Gbps Ethernet services, standard 2.5 Gbps and 10 Gbps
optical carrier services, and generalized MPLS or GMPLS network
With optical transport services as easy
to come by as copper based lines, the floodgates will open for
IP based remote storage and emergency backup, project design
and simulation electronic data transfers, large scale call center
operations, design center to corporate HQ to warehousing to factory
links that run at the full LAN bandwidth, high definition video
and digital movie / animation transmission. In short, electronic
data that has been typically transferred by sending tapes and
optical discs can now be sent cross-country over network lines.
In many cases, the bandwidth is in place to make real-time transmission
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