January 10, 2005, Linthicum, MD -- Ciena Corp. announced both the new CN 4350 Ethernet Services Provisioning Switch and the product's first acknowledged customers. Ciena touts the CN 4350 as the first carrier-grade Ethernet platform specifically designed for telco and cable service providers to deliver triple play services to residential and commercial customers over a converged packet network. Both Adelphia and Armstrong Cable have deployed multiple CN 4350s within their networks.
According to Gary Southwell, vice president of corporate product marketing, the new system is based on work begun at Internet Photonics, which Ciena purchased last year. It is aimed squarely at Cisco's Catalyst 7609 in triple-play applications. Southwell says the CN 4350 affords lower first-in cost than the Cisco option because it requires only one box on each end of a link to provide combined IP voice, video, and data with guaranteed QoS over a converged network. Two Catalyst 7609s at each end would be required to provide a converged offering, Southwell claims, and the QoS that such an architecture would provide would not be guaranteed. Southwell says the Ciena approach could provide up to 70 percent combined capex and opex savings over competing offerings.
Ciena's CN 4350 is already delivering a variety of video, voice and data services in multiple customer networks, including a deployment with Armstrong Cable, a large U.S. cable operator with subscribers across five states. The platform is generally available and additional deployments and trials are underway with other telco and cable service providers, including Adelphia Communications Corporation.
The system has been in general availability since last August. Armstrong Cable -- which provides cable television, broadband Internet and VoIP services to customers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky -- has deployed Ciena's CN 4350 to deliver high-quality video, voice, and data services over its converged, high-capacity network.
"As video services move to all-digital simulcast, everything on-demand, and high-definition digital services along with enhanced data and voice services, the carrier-grade, scalable, and cost-effective Gigabit Ethernet switching and transport platform that the CN 4350 provides is essential to success in today's competitive environment." said Michael Giobbi, vice president, engineering and technology, at Armstrong. "Ciena's CN 4350 is a key part of an initiative to create a converged network that is ultra-reliable, fast to deploy, can scale capacity to meet our growing demand, and, in the same platform, has the QoS intelligence required to ensure service delivery for subscribers."
Meanwhile, Adelphia first deployed Ciena equipment in its Los Angeles network in November 2003 with the initial roll-out of VOD in that market. The addition of the CN 4350 is part of a significant expansion of that relationship along with new installations at other major Adelphia cable systems, including those in and around Cleveland, Colorado Springs, CO, Waterbury, CT, and West Palm Beach, FL.
"These deployments emphasize our continued commitment to building next-generation networks to deliver a suite of advanced services to our customers nationwide," said Harold Willison, director, high-speed data transport, design and engineering for Adelphia. "Ciena helped us successfully converge our L.A. network to deliver advanced services while reducing our overall costs and simplifying our network operations, and now we're replicating that success in our other systems."
According to Jim Collier, senior vice president of worldwide sales, Ciena, "Adelphia was the first to deploy our new CN 4350 featuring VirtualWire VLAN switching, and they are already seeing the significant equipment and operational savings by leveraging our transport and switching platforms at the edge of the network and centralizing routing at their major headends."
Ciena's CN 4350 combines full-mesh 160-Gbit/sec fabric, VirtualWire VLAN switching, GbE and WDM transport interfaces, and carrier-grade reliability to provide the same service performance and operational simplicity of time-division multiplexed and Gigabit Ethernet multiplexing, but with the cost-effectiveness and bandwidth efficiency of Ethernet switching. In contrast to general-purpose data-switching architectures, the CN 4350 delivers absolute QoS and assigns each service its own "virtual wire" with guaranteed end-to-end bandwidth and performance, which is critical for concurrently switching and transporting best effort and QoS-sensitive services at 100 percent utilization to ensure optimal performance and service level requirements.
The CN 4350 supports fully redundant power, fans, switch fabric and controller modules, has separate data and control planes, and is NEBS Level 3 certified. Ciena's fault-tolerant switching and control complex, which provides persistent forwarding and maintenance of the spanning tree topology during switchover, provides highly reliable converged services without the cost and administrative complexity of dual routers at every location running virtual router redundancy protocol (VRRP).