Reseller drives fiber to the desktop

Reseller drives fiber to the desktop

BEN HARRISON

In a novel reseller program to promote fiber-optic local area network (LAN) technology, Allied Telesyn International Corp., in Bothell, WA, is providing value-added resellers (VARs), system integrators, and end-users with free design software to help configure fiber-optic networks.

In addition, reseller rebates are available for more than 25 different fiber-optic products, and the company is also reducing prices of its Ethernet adapter cards by 21%. These reductions promote the benefits and use of fiber-optic technology to deliver high-speed, high-quality connectivity in computer-network applications through a fiber-to-the-desk (fttd) initiative.

This initiative has also resulted in an alliance between Allied Telesyn and Lucent Technologies, Norcross, GA, that provides LAN customers with a fiber-based, end-to-end solution for desktop-cabling needs.

Dave Stoner, Allied Telesyn`s marketing development manager, explains that the goal of the two companies is to help further development of fiber in data LANs and to provide better, easier-to-use technology for the fiber environment.

"The alliance brings to the industry a fiber-to-the-desk solution that includes fiber cable, passive components, active LAN hardware, installation, and support," Stoner says. "Plans include a 24-city road show where VARs and end-users will be trained in fiber-to-the-desk options."

Lucent provides fiber-optic cabling system products and offers a fttd infrastructure solution through its systimax structured cabling system (SCS) product line. The SCS architecture extends fiber`s distance capabilities while ensuring high levels of security. Fiber-data transmission can be extended three times beyond that of traditional cabling products--to 300 meters in premises applications. Allied Telesyn supplies fiber-based Ethernet LAN hardware, including switches, hubs, and adapters.

According to Bob Mohalley, business management vice president for Lucent Technologies, "A fiber-to-the-desk implementation provides a future-proofing network solution because the network is easy to expand and can support data rates to 2.5 Gbits/sec."

Fernando Corona, Allied Telesyn`s vice president of marketing, says, "The company is demonstrating that fiber-optic networks are neither difficult to design nor necessarily more expensive to implement than copper-based LANs. Design tools and product rebates are designed to educate and assist resellers in migrating to fiber."

Resellers can call Allied Telesyn for a free copy of Lucent Technologies` FiberGraphix network design software for Microsoft Windows. This software helps VARs and system integrators design premises, campus, and outside-plant fiber-optic networks through a graphical user interface. A network designer can print network drawings, passive component requirements, and necessary LAN hardware specifications using this software.

In addition to the software, qualified resellers will receive Allied Telesyn`s Fiber-Optic Product Summary Guide, which provides an overview of current fiber-optic technology and information on fiber-optic products.

The company`s guide explains the advantages of optical fiber installed to the desktop. For example, segment lengths exceeding 300 meters give network designers multiple design options. Companies are reducing Information Technology support costs by maximizing port densities and reducing the number of equipment closets. Even at 300 meters, fiber can support 2.5-Gbit/sec speeds, providing substantial bandwidth for future growth and eliminating the need to recable.

Chuck Berman, Allied Telesyn product marketing director, explains, "Fiber-optic technology can deliver performance advantages over conventional copper cable, which will be even more significant as the need for network bandwidth continues to increase.

"This price reduction focuses on decreasing the cost of fiber end-points, making fiber more competitive with copper solutions and even more compelling as a network transport media," Berman states.

He points out that fiber-optic Ethernet technology offers significant advantages over copper. Estimates show that as much as 80% of currently installed Category 5 copper cable may be incapable of supporting 100-Mbit/sec traffic because of installation-related issues.

Berman believes this performance issue could seriously impact the future network performance of many companies. However, he thinks fiber offers major advantages in the areas of distance and investment protection. For example, at 100 Mbits/sec, fiber-cable runs can be as long as 412 meters, allowing network designers to enjoy multiple design options and more centralization of network resources. q

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