Deutsche Telekom expands optical infrastructure

Networks

By EDWARD HARROFF

Deutsche Telekom made several major announcements at CeBIT 2000 that demonstrates the German incumbent's intent to set the pace in the information and communication technology sector. Deutsche Telekom surprised some analysts by awarding Lucent Technologies the lead contractor's role in building Deutsche Telekom's IP2 (fast Internet) network. Lucent will work closely with Alcatel to rapidly deploy a 17-ring dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) infrastructure covering all major German cities. The network also will connect to a submarine link in the North Sea for transatlantic traffic.

This contract is part of a long-term framework agreement that has Deutsche Telekom investing more than $500 million in its optical "communication highway" this year. "The agreement with Deutsche Telekom allows us to offer one of the world's largest service providers a reliable, high-performance network with leading-edge technology," says to Hans Huber, chairman of Lucent in Germany, Switzer land, and Austria. This year, Deutsche Telekom's migration to a new DWDM transport network will start in the first phase of operation at transmission rates of 2.5 and 10 Gbits/sec. Deutsche Telekom will expand its domestic back-haul network next year with Lucent's Wave Star OLS 400G. This Lucent Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) DWDM product family has been developed in the Bell Labs research center in Nurembrug, Germany.

Alcatel's portion of this contract will consist of Opti nex transmission systems and net work - management products, in cluding the Alcatel 1355 Virtual Private Network Manager. Unlike Lucent, Alcatel has participated in past Deutsche Telekom SDH network expansions.

Deutsche Telekom's Internet service provider, T-online, has provided the necessary impetus for such expansion by exploding the number of Internet users beyond 17 million and dramatically increasing e-commerce traffic volume (DM300 million, according to a recent estimate). Deutsche Telekom has also announced a strategic partnership with Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA). Gerd Tenzer, a member of Deutsche Telekom's Board of Management responsible for networks, explains that "close cooperation with Cisco will enable us to provide our customers with the latest IP technology that can cope with the boom in Internet usage and at the same time ensures the efficiency, scalability, and reliability of our networks."

Tenzer also covered recent development of Deutsche Tele kom's international expansion while speaking at CeBIT. Deutsche Telekom has selected Global Crossing to help fill the missing links of its global network. He mentioned that Deutsche Telekom was now operating in 90 points-of-presence in 40 countries with an SDH optical network that covers a total distance of 150,000 km. One2One (UK), Siris (France), max.mobil (Austria), and Club Internet (France) will be the end customer-service providers that will fill Deutsche Telekom's long-haul SDH network with IP traffic.

Tenzer also commented on what Deutsche Telekom is planning in the local loop, the much-cited "last mile." As per Europ ean Union directives, Deutsche Telekom has started to sell off its broadband cable network. The first announcement involved the regional cable com pany (4.2 million households) in North Rhine/ Westphalia, which Deutsche Tele kom sold to Callahan Assoc iates International LLC. Deutsche Tele kom has been deploying its own brand of asymmetrical digital-subscriber-line technology, T-DSL. Says Tenzer, "This year, we will have set up the new technology [T-DSL] in a total of 220 local networks, covering some 17 million households in Germany."

Edward Harroff writes on telecommunications issues from Bellevue, Switzerland

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