Allstream zeroes in on local-area network services

Allstream Corp. is offering local-area networking (LAN) management to mid-sized and large organizations. Last month, the Toronto-based telecom service provider announced its managed LAN service, which includes network assessment, fault monitoring, performance reports and security monitoring.


Crews, Allstream’s vice-president of infrastructure management and solutions, said the carrier also plans to offer converged voice and data services, integrating Internet Protocol (IP) telephony equipment.

“”We see that managed LAN piece as a key stepping stone to allow us to sell customers converged solutions as well,”” Crews said. “”That could involve IP phones and some of the newer applications,”” including unified messaging.

Allstream’s managed LAN offering includes a network assessment service, which Crews said is valuable to telecom managers who want to determine whether their IT network will support both voice and data.

Roberta Fox, president and senior partner of Markham, Ont.-based Fox Group Consulting , said Allstream’s service could be a “”nice first step”” for IT staff who want to figure out whether their organization’s networks are ready for voice.

“”Most of us don’t know how our network performs,”” she said. “”Before you can go to voice over IP, you have to know how healthy your network is, so maybe the first step is to go to a managed service, so you get the traffic and statistics reports.””

Allstream plans to monitor customers’ networks from its Mississauga, Ont.-based network operations centre. For example, Crews said, a government organization with several offices across Canada could hire Allstream to manage both the wide-area connections between offices, and the internal networks within the offices.

Allstream would charge a monthly service, which would depend on the number of locations, switches, routers and other gear. The service is based on Cisco’s AVVID product line, but Crews said Allstream could service networks with non-Cisco hardware.

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