When it comes to the network operators, most media attention is on the core network architecture, which effectively is the brains of the network, including applications and network hardware that allow delivery of services to those users.
Equally important, however, as operators move to all-IP networks in order to deliver the advanced voice, video, and data services they are introducing -- and for which the new generation of endpoints is being developed -- is the transport network between the localized edge networks and the core. In order to truly leverage the benefits of an IP infrastructure, providers must also look to upgrade their backhaul networks. After all, having the latest technology at either end of the network does little good if the links between them can't accommodate it.
Alcatel-Lucent has a long history as an end-to-end infrastructure vendor, and is driving the move to all-IP networks with its broad set of solutions, which includes its Mobile Evolution Transport Architecture (META), which integrates multiple transport technologies into a single end-to-end network architecture to accommodate the growth in network traffic for its customers.
One of those customers, FPL FiberNet, provides network services across its longhaul and metro fiber networks throughout much of Florida. Looking to create a more reliable network for its Ethernet-based services, FPL FiberNet chose Alcatel-Lucent's META solution to increase bandwidth for its growing mobile backhaul needs, while also keeping a close eye on operating costs.
"Wireless backhaul, which transports data and voice traffic between wireless base stations and the broader network, is an example of a new opportunity where we can leverage our existing network and customer relationships to expand services," explained Carmen Perez, President of FPL FiberNet
Leveraging wireless technology in the backhaul network, of course, provides a cost-effective alternative to traditional solutions, due to easier and faster deployment as well as significantly lower maintenance costs. META provides an easy migration to all-IP transport, enabling reliable roll-out and delivery of next generation communications services and supporting any last mile access technologies.
"As the market moves from optical services to more packet-based services, FPL FiberNet is strategically investing in equipment that allows us to have a seamless transition to all-IP," added Perez.
To accommodate that transition, the FPL FiberNet deployment includes Alcatel-Lucent's 1850 Transport Service Switch, which allows FPL FiberNet to aggregate and transport multiple types of traffic -- from SONET to Ethernet to packet -- across its single architecture.
As the market continues to move to all-IP infrastructures, the need for cost effective backhaul is only going to grow. Alcatel-Lucent will look to leverage its market presence along with META's ability to help network operators deliver increased bandwidth at lower costs, without sacrificing quality of service. At the end of the day, it's service quality that matters -- more than anything else.