Florida's DOT selects Foundry's MPLS-based switches and routers

Dec. 11, 2007
DECEMBER 11, 2007 -- The FDOT purchase of NetIron MLX metro routers and FastIron switches supports a statewide network that is being deployed at all turnpike-owned and operated toll facilities within Florida.

DECEMBER 11, 2007 -- Foundry Networks Inc. (search for Foundry Networks) today announced that Florida's Turnpike Enterprise, part of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), has selected its NetIron MLX Series Multi-Protocol Label Switching (search for MPLS) metro routers and the FastIron Family of Layer 2/3 switches for its extensive network redesign. Florida's Turnpike will leverage the approximately 100 new switches and routers to improve customer service, facilitate the deployment of new toll collection systems, and support disaster recovery operations.

With approximately 1.8 million motorists traveling across more than 460 miles of toll highways each day, Florida's Turnpike required a massive upgrade to its toll operations network infrastructure to save motorists' time, ensure efficient flow of traffic, and maintain instantaneous access to multiple geographically distributed internal database systems. The FDOT purchase of NetIron MLX metro routers and FastIron switches supports a statewide network that is being deployed at all turnpike-owned and operated toll facilities within Florida. The FDOT says the network supports all facets of toll operations, including the highly successful SunPass electronic toll collection system. In addition to helping provide motorists a better experience, the new NetIron MLX MPLS-based routers allow FDOT to deploy high availability and low latency systems at locations dispersed statewide, something that was not possible with its legacy equipment, says Foundry.

MPLS is a widely supported method for speeding up data communication over IP, ATM, and Frame Relay networks; it improves the speed of packet processing and enhances overall network performance, explain Foundry representatives. Typically, this technology is used in advanced service provider networks to support the delivery of triple-play services over a converged infrastructure because of the applications' sensitivity to delay.

However, says Foundry, Florida's Turnpike Enterprise is a unique example of a forward-looking organization; the enterprise implemented MPLS technology on its privately owned fiber network to maximize performance levels and provide long-term scalability. Ultimately, this will improve its customers' user experience while allowing for growth and supporting the ever-growing demand on Florida's toll roads.

"Florida's Turnpike Enterprise is the second largest revenue generator for the State of Florida, so it is vital we have a proven and innovative solution that is completely scalable, has industry-leading performance, and allows for network growth for the long road ahead," notes Bob Hartmann, director for the Tolls Data Center. "Our extensive legacy network infrastructure is aging and has reached a point where it is not able to perform the tasks needed for us to remain highly efficient and cost-effective. Foundry's NetIron MLX Series meets all our requirements through a sophisticated 10-Gigabit Ethernet MPLS network infrastructure designed from the ground up to deliver the highest performance available today," he says. "After evaluating all the top router and switching vendors' solutions, it was clear Foundry had the best combination of ultra-high performance, scalability, support, and low total cost of ownership."

"We are very pleased that Florida's Turnpike Enterprise selected Foundry's leading routers and switches to bring high-performance to their statewide Toll Operations network," adds Ken Cheng, vice president and general manager for Foundry's High-End and Service Provider Systems Business Unit. "As one of the nation's leading toll road operators, they are responsible for providing a world-class network of roads and toll operations for more than 1.8 million motorists daily. Foundry was able to deliver a high-performance, cost effective, scalable, and robust 10-Gigabit Ethernet MPLS routing and switching solution that allows Florida's Turnpike to provide local and visiting motorists safe and pleasant travels."

Designed to enable reliable converged infrastructures and support mission-critical applications for large enterprises and service providers, the NetIron MLX Series of metro routers features advanced N+1 redundant switch fabric architecture for high availability, says Foundry. The architecture ensures that the system continues to operate at peak performance even in the unlikely event of a switch fabric card failure.

The redundant fabric architecture is complemented by hardware redundancy for the management modules, power supplies, and cooling system. In addition, the Multi-Service IronWare operating system, powering the NetIron MLX Series, offers hitless management failover with Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and OSPF graceful restart capabilities, as well as hitless (in-service) software upgrades to further enhance system availability and overall network availability, say company representatives.

By leveraging an MPLS infrastructure for its services, Florida's Turnpike can ensure the highest level of Quality of Service (QoS) and build greater resiliency into their network. Additionally, a common infrastructure can be used for the delivery of multiple services, thus lowering operational and capital costs. The ability to do sub-50 millisecond failure recovery with MPLS Fast Re-Route (FRR) on the NetIron MLX Series allows minimal disruption to traffic being transported through the network.

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