18 November 2003 Bedminster NJ and Boca Raton, FL Lightwave--AT&T took another step toward its vision of an all-optical network as it signed a contractual agreement to begin testing a Siemens next-generation optical transport solution for use on high-capacity routes in its network. AT&T Labs and AT&T network engineers are working with Siemens personnel to assess the SURPASS hiT 7500's operation with already installed intelligent optical switches and other network elements before the unit's planned deployment in AT&T's network in the first half of 2004.
"AT&T aims to evolve to one global network using multi-protocol label switching on an optical backbone because our enterprise customers demand constraint-free capacity growth to meet their business needs," said Hossein Eslambolchi, AT&T chief technical officer and president of AT&T Labs. "We selected the Siemens platform because we believe it will meet our need for a fully automated solution that gives us a flexible transport architecture with the agility and scalability required to meet the dynamic requirements of our customers."
"This will be the first Siemens deployment in the AT&T transport network, and we are pleased that AT&T is recognizing Siemens as a technology leader in advanced optical transport solutions," said George C. Nolen, president and chief executive officer of Siemens Information and Communication Networks.
In February 2002, AT&T announced its first steps in deploying an intelligent optical network when it revealed that it had installed intelligent optical switches in more than 40 U.S. cities and had deployed more than 100 multi-service platform devices that aggregate lower-rate customer traffic up to high-speed (OC-48 or OC-192) pipes for routing across the network.
"Today, AT&T has intelligent optical switches in 105 locations in the U.S. and 10 locations in other countries," said Reed Harrison, senior vice president of AT&T Network Engineering & Operations. "More than 700 multi-service platforms have been deployed in customer locations or in AT&T metropolitan or long-distance network facilities, giving the ability to combine customers' Internet protocol, video, data, voice, and all other traffic into one optical signal. We believe the Siemens/AT&T solution will enable reduced costs and cycle times and improved reliability because the platform can extend the distance between signal regeneration points, enable remote configuration of network paths and allow quicker wavelength provisioning through tunable transponders."
The SURPASS hiT 7500 when fully tested and installed, will bring additional capabilities to AT&T's transport network, helping the carrier evolve beyond optical networking toward its long-range goal of an AT&T photonic network in which information flows as pure particles of light with no need to convert to electrons. The platform offers full-channel optical add/drop multiplexer capabilities, enabling remote configuration of a path without the need to touch the network while staying all-optical through multiple add/drop nodes, all of which yields lower costs. The system also features transponders that are tunable over 80 channels of light.
The technology extends the distance between signal regeneration points to more than 900 mi (compared to a maximum of about 400 mi today), resulting in faster provisioning with lower costs, as well as higher reliability because there are fewer possible failure points.
The AT&T Photonic Network will restore service faster in the event of a failure or disaster. This new network will also provide the capability to dramatically shorten provisioning time for new high-speed circuits for business customers who have direct access to the network.
"The Siemens technology seems to fit right into our Concept of One and Concept of Zero philosophies at AT&T," said Eslambolchi. "Under Concept of One, we are collapsing all our networks into one architecture that uses MPLS on an optical backbone. MPLS gives us the ability to custom handle each packet of information, sending a voice or video packet that's sensitive to time delays to the head of the line. This new architecture also facilitates new services, such as voice over IP and interactive gaming.
"Under Concept of Zero, we're dedicated to achieving the goals of zero defects and zero cycle time as we provide services without any human intervention through fully automated processes. In the past 18 months, we've reduced cycle times 40 to 50% on average. With this Siemens solution, we expect to be able to further automate capacity provisioning, enabling us to turn on bandwidth automatically, based on need. AT&T continues to invest in the future so that we can unleash the power of networking for our customers."