Telecom Ottawa adopts high-speed metro architecture

A high-speed metro (HSM) architecture could save telecom service providers “”oodles”” of money, according to Telecom Ottawa.

In fact, the HSM technology developed by Ottawa-based Meriton

Networks could allow a service provider to cut its costs by up to 80 per cent depending on what infrastructure already exists, said Dave Dobbin, Telecom Ottawa’s chief operating officer.

Telecom Ottawa is so confident in the Ottawa startup’s technology that it recently selected its HSM architecture to extend the service provider’s Gigabit Ethernet network.

Dobbin favours Meriton’s offering because it allows Telecom Ottawa to do dense and coarse wave multiplexing under a single chassis.

“”It’s a much more cost-effective way to do waves”” when compared to the conventional route of using two separate banks of equipment for dense and coarse, he said.

The technology also allows providers to switch between a coarse wave and a dense wave inside the same box, which saves you a cross connect, said Dobbin. High-traffic cross-sections tend to chew through a lot of fibre. “”But with this (Meriton) box, it allows us to double, triple, quadruple our capacity on those critical cross-sections. Instead of putting one customer on a pair, we put 10.””

Telecom Ottawa recently expanded its operations to include Cornwall and Kingston. “”Using this architecture with limited amounts of fibre, we’re able to connect those networks into our network with lots of capacity. Rather than having to purchase circuits from somebody else, we can do it ourselves,”” said Dobbin.

Telecom Ottawa is not the only one to favour Meriton’s technology. In the last quarter, the startup picked up four new customers.

“”Telecom Ottawa and other carriers are starting to face some capacity issues … (due to) the higher demand for higher-speed services,”” said Mike Gassewitz, president of Meriton Networks. “”So the question becomes: What’s the right technology to put in place to deal with these issues?””

Some carriers choose to move from OC-48 (2.5 gigabit per second) to OC-192 (10 gigabit per second) under a SONET protocol. “”But the cost of doing so is just high,”” he said.

“”And these boxes are designed to take care of lower-speed services. To use that kind of a box to carry Gigabit Ethernet just isn’t a cost-effective thing to do.””

In Telecom Ottawa’s case, it could’ve scaled its Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure to a 10-gig E.

“”(But) we’ve shown that moving to a WDM (wavelength division multiplexing) HSM architecture was more cost-effective and more scalable than those alternatives,”” said Gassewitz. “”(With WDM), you have optics, lasers, and filters. But it’s much more simplified. And these are elements that have been designed to move big pipes, not little pipes. So it’s just a matter of using the right tool for the right job.””

Multiplexing techniques are getting better all the time, and with competition you’re going to get more affordability, said Joe Greene, vice-president, telecommunications and Internet research at IDC Canada. Currently, there is enough competition in this space for the price to be reasonable, adds Greene.

“”It’s definitely getting there,”” he said.

In response to increased demand for high-speed services, some service providers are upgrading their networks, adding in better data communications equipment that will allow them to “”jam more and more down the pipe,”” Greene said.

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