Feature Article

February 09, 2009

Tw Telecom Bolsters NGN with Cisco's ME 3400 Ethernet Switches

We learned during a recent interview with tw telecom inc., a managed network services provider, that the company rates its Ethernet platform for voice, Internet and data communications high among its core strategic assets.
That makes sense: The Littleton, Colorado-based company specializes in Ethernet as well as transport data networking, Internet access, VPN and VoIP – a cost-saving technology whose premiere event last week bucked trends in this slowing economy with a 15 percent rise in attendance.
Today, tw telecom announced that it bolstered its next-generation network by adding a series of Ethernet access switches from the world’s largest maker of computer networking gear.
Officials at tw telecom say so-called “ME 3400 Series Switches” (pictured below right) from San Jose, California-based Cisco Systems Inc. are improving the flexibility, reliability and security of their integrated, converged services.
According to Troy Knuckles, president of tw telecom’s Western division, the company ranks among the first to introduce Ethernet services locally and nationwide for businesses and “partnered with Cisco to build our service platform since the beginning.”
“We continue to deploy the latest Cisco IP NGN Carrier Ethernet solutions to help create a successful network platform to grow our business, deliver the right technology and meet demanding customer applications that fit their budgets,” Knuckles said.
Naturally, in this slower economy, service providers themselves also are budget-conscious – and this makes the ME 3400 Series a good solution.
The multilayer customer-located switches allow service providers to deploy Ethernet-to-the-home “triple play” and Ethernet-to-the-business VPN access services in a single solution to help reduce total ownership costs and operating expenses.
The formula is working. Currently, tw telecom operates in 30 states and Washington, D.C., and its national fiber footprint can reach two-thirds of U.S. businesses. According to Vertical Systems Group, tw telecom has increased its market share among businesses and ranks among the top three providers of Ethernet connections to business customers – a market that the suburban Boston research firm says is fertile, as demonstrated by this chart:
Tw telecom attributes much of its its own growth to an investment in a nationwide network based on a Cisco’s Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network CarrierEthernet design. 
The design boosts converged services and operation, administration and management capabilities by evolving its access technology to the latest Cisco metro Ethernet switch.  Officials at tw telecom say that adding the Cisco ME 3400 Series to its existing Cisco 7600 Series architecture allows the company to converge packet-based services such as VoIP, high-speed Internet, disaster recovery and highly secure virtual private networks onto a single service infrastructure using cost-efficient Ethernet connections.
“The ability to deliver a scalable, converged network is a unique and strong value proposition for our enterprise customers,” Knuckles said.
As Ian Hood, a senior manager of service provider marketing for Cisco, told MobilityTechzone during an interview, the company has seen growing interest in its converged Carrier Ethernet solution for some time as leading providers like tw telecom and others challenge their competitors.
“The service providers and and businesses, like Cisco, that are capable of taking advantage of economic slowdowns continue to expand their deployments of cost-saving solutions like our ‘Any-Play’ IP NGN Carrier Ethernet Design to grow their business and ‘leap-frog’ many of their smaller vertical competitors as well as their other full-service competitors,” Hood said. “Those who can take advantage of this market condition are doing so.”
According to Kelly Ahuja, senior vice president of the service provider routing technology group at Cisco, tw telecom’s IP NGN network has proven to be an efficient and cost-effective means to offer converged voice, video and data services to enterprises of any size.
“Cisco’s IP NGN technologies and expertise transform service providers, like tw telecom, into experience providers enabling them to deliver the Connected Life,” Ahuja said. “Experience providers are adding new revenue opportunities with a reduced time to market by delivering ‘table stakes’ video and new and differentiated video services.”

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for MobilityTechzone, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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