RISQ bets on long-haul network

Quebec’s higher education and research network is preparing to roll out a long-haul optical solution that will bring IP-based voice, video, and data services to its 100 member institutions.

The Réseau d’informations scientifiques

du Québec (RISQ) Monday said it had selected Cisco Systems Inc.’s Complete Optical Multiservice Edge and Transport (COMET) portfolio following a tender process late last year. Some site on the network, including Sherbrooke, have already been lit, and the rest are expected to have access by mid-July. The 13-year-old RISQ provides telecommunications infrastructure and services to most Quebec universities, colleges and research agencies, as well as CA*net 4.

“”We’re basically going to deploy the network as the fibre is ready,”” said RISQ network manager Luc Desrosiers. “”As soon as one meg of network — say, between Montreal and Sherbrooke — is available fibre-wise, we’ll just deploy the equipment.””

Since all its IP boxes are already on Cisco, adding the optical layer on Cisco products allows RISQ to better leverage its technology, Desrosiers said. “”You have the router interface that will plug in directly into the VWDM equipment,”” he said. “”From an operational point of view, to have a single vendor (means) there’s no such thing as, ‘Mmm, no, it’s the other vendor that doesn’t implement that standard correctly.'””

This kind of one-stop-shopping approach is becoming more popular in the enterprise, said Toronto-based Frost & Sullivan analyst Ron Gruia.

“”They don’t want to be concerned with all these different SLAs and have to worry about service providers and then wonder who the enterprise provider is going to be,”” he said. “”If they can come to a vendor — in this case Cisco — and they take care of the whole enchilada, that definitely does simplify things for them.””

Benefits offered through the optical network could include Intra-RISQ, an unlimited non-congested way of routing traffic to any other institution on the network. In the future, Desrosiers said he expects to deploy other MPLS-based VPNs to put members in higher priority on the network.

“”There might be different ways on how they use the network, but from a backbone provider perspective, they’re pretty similar,”” he said. “”For example, security is not a major issue at RISQ. We certainly hear about it, and we have to secure ourselves, but compared to what you have in the commercial world, people are not as stressed in the research community.””

The COMET solution RISQ has selected is comprised of the ONS 15454 SONET Multiservice Platform for voice, video, and data capabilities; OC-192 support; the ONS 15327 metro edge optical transport platform; the ONS 15252 Metro DWDM line for flexible capacity in the metro; and the ONS 15808 Long-Haul/Extended Long-Haul DWDM System for cost-effective transport over wider geographic areas. RISQ will deploy Cisco Transport Manager, the integrated multiservice management system for the entire COMET portfolio.

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