Sprint increases Internet speed and bandwidth

Oct. 1, 1997

Sprint increases Internet speed and bandwidth

By GRACE F. MURPHY

Sprint, Kansas City, MO, plans to upgrade its Internet backbone to OC-12 (622 Mbits/sec) during the next two years, a move it claims will both increase network speed and boost bandwidth by 400%.

By deploying Cisco Systems` 12,000 Gigabit Switch Router, Sprint says it is launching the world`s first OC-12 packet-over-Sonet (Synchronous Optical Network) Internet network.

In a prepared statement, Dominick DeAngelo, vice president of Sprint Internet & Intranet Services, Sprint Business, said the upgrade will meet customer demands for improved Internet performance. It will also provide increased fault tolerance and "offer future quality of service and multicasting products without affecting router or network performance," DeAngelo said.

Karl Kramer, vice president of Sprint Data Operations, says deploying the Cisco 12,000 series into the network provides "seamless upgrade capabilities from OC-3 [155-Mbit/sec] links to OC-12 [packet-over-Sonet] links."

In touting the new capability, Sprint attempted to differentiate itself from its competition by claiming that while "other [Internet service provider] backbones" have achieved OC-12 speeds, these networks were forced to slow to OC-3 at network interfaces. This statement and others in Sprint`s announcement prompted officials at mci to issue a prepared statement of their own in which Rob Hagens, director of Internet engineering, took issue with Sprint`s claim to be the first to send Internet protocol (IP) over Sonet.

According to Hagens, mci started upgrading its Internet backbone to OC-12 in 1996 to meet "the overwhelming demand for our services," and expects to finish the improvements this month.

"However we are puzzled at Sprint`s claim to be the first Internet provider to send IP over Sonet. mci`s Internet traffic has always traveled across our Sonet network, with the added flexibility and reliability of an atm [Asynchronous Transfer Mode] layer," Hagens says.

Greg Cline, director of Internet and networking research for Business Research Group in Newton, MA, says both carriers approach the market differently, and since every carrier will eventually upgrade to OC-12 capacity, who did so first is a non-issue.

"They`re arguing over the number of angels on the head of a pin, really," Cline says.q

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