More PBT control planes coming soon
PBT control plane pioneer Soapstone attracts rivals
Though Soapstone Networks took the lead in addressing the market for a control plane to manage Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) networks, it won’t be alone for long. Sources say at least two new entrants are poised to join Soapstone soon, ushering in a more multi-vendor environment for PBT control planes.
Those new control planes will be unveiled “this year for sure--probably in the first half,” said one source familiar with the suppliers, adding, “You’ll definitely see it in the startup area. I haven’t seen too many plans from big networking companies.”
One of the new PBT control planes likely to exit the stealth stage soon is that from Gridpoint Systems. Although short of a true public unveiling of its platform, Gridpoint demonstrated its system across multiple vendors’ hardware at the Carrier Ethernet World Congress in Geneva last fall, shortly after completing an $8-million series-A funding round. Gridpoint’s top management team hail from Newbridge Networks, the ATM switch vendor that was acquired by Alcatel in 2000. Gridpoint’s CEO, Jim Arseneault, founded broadband wireless startup Dragonwave, which is now Gridpoint’s partner as well as a member of Nortel Networks’ PBT “ecosystem.”
Equipment vendors chasing the nascent PBT market such as Extreme Networks and Hammerhead Systems have both partnered with Soapstone but are chatting up its would-be rivals, knowing that their emergence gives service providers more choice and, in turn, greater comfort with PBT.
“There are other [PBT control plane] solutions out there,” Rob Keil, Hammerhead’s founder and vice president of marketing, said last fall. “As they mature and as customers embrace other solutions, we’re open to working with a whole range of third-party providers.”
The need for a PBT control plane is increasing as vendors seek to offer the Ethernet transport technology in more than just point-to-point applications. In recent months, Hammerhead, Extreme and Nortel Networks have all introduced new equipment that enables point-to-multipoint and multipoint-to-multipoint PBT networks. Because much of PBT’s coveted low cost and simplicity comes from its design as a point-to-point tunneling technology, its use in more complicated scenarios requires control planes to provision those tunnels with a view of available network paths.
Core router vendor Avici Networks, which renamed itself Soapstone, was the first to act in anticipation of this need, announcing plans to sell a PBT control plane more than a year ago. And it has a head start over the newcomers. The company claims it is shipping software to customers today and has nearly 50 switches from 10 different vendors in its certification labs.
“We've also moved beyond the initial functionality for PBB-TE control plane--provisioning, monitoring and repair--and are launching in couple of months new modules for automation of other service lifecycle functions including service level agreement monitoring, optimization and planning,” Esmeralda Swartz, Soapstone’s cofounder and senior vice president of marketing and business development, said this week. “The other direction we've moved in is to [branch out into] MPLS and optical multi-vendor provisioning. Soapstone will be the multi-vendor, multi-technology, multi-layer services control plane.”
“I have yet to hear of new entrants into this space--they've done a good job in stealth mode,” she added. “Good luck to them, but my general impression is that they'll be about two years too late.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
In this Webinar you will learn how to create a real-time relationship with your customers, how to proactively improve the customer experience, and how to successfully target and cross-sell services to boost incremental revenue.
- Megabytes to Megabucks, Bandwidth to Business Models: How 4G Is Changing Everything
- How to Unplug Your Redundant Telco Apps To Save Money and Improve Efficiency
- When IaaS Isn't Enough: Service Provider Business Models to Drive Growth and Build Margin
- How to Transform Your Aging Telco Voice Network to Drive New Profits and Revenue
- Creative Licensing Approaches for Telcos & Their Network Equipment Vendors
- Smart Home Opportunity: Balancing Customer Data & Privacy
This paper discusses the rise of Diameter and benefits of Diameter Protocol.
- Conducting The Orchestration – Order Management at the Speed of Business
- Toward a Converged Network Edge
- Beyond Spam – Email Security in the Age of Blended Threats
- 6 Important Steps to Evaluating a Web Filtering Solution
- The Expertise to Protect You from Botnet and DDoS Attacks
- Seeing is Believing – Bridging the Order Visibility Gap
Service providers are under tremendous pressure to turn up new services faster then before and, at the same time,
to do it at less expense - and intra-office fiber is one of the biggest challenges in terms of both cost and service
From the Blog
Join the Discussion
Get more out of Connected Planet by visiting our related resources below:
Connected Planet highlights the next generation of service providers, as well as how their customers use services in new ways.Subscribe Now