Avici takes on OC-192

Avici Systems is delivering on its OC-192 promises.

A couple of weeks ago the company announced availability of the higher-speed OC-192c interface, but the following day came the real news -- Avici had already landed a major customer for its TSR core Internet router. AT&T announced that it’s running live traffic over its nationwide OC-192 backbone using Avici’s router as the cornerstone.

Avici’s channelized OC-192 interfaces, which became available in the third quarter of last year, are now carrying live traffic among Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis and San Francisco.

"It’s a tier-1 network," says Seth Spalding, director at Epoch Partners. "And that’s a big deal. They’re one of the only carriers actually carrying live OC-192 traffic. They aren’t using Juniper, and they didn’t wait for Cisco to get there. "

According to estimates by Epoch Partners, the deal is worth approximately $5.2 million.

"They are well on their way toward hitting the $9 million in revenue we predicted for the quarter ending in March," Spalding adds.

This announcement came the day after an announcement regarding the availability of OC-192c (concatenated) interfaces. Now the company will offer both channelized and concatenated interfaces.

What’s the difference between channelized and concatenated? Channelized interfaces consist of four separate OC-48 channels each running at 2.5G bit/sec multiplexed together in an OC-192 pipe, while the concatenated version is a solid OC-192 pipe with one channel running at speeds close to 10G bit/sec. Each implementation has its own benefits. The channelized implementation can hook into existing OC-48 gear, while concatenated pipes require special faster gear. On the flip side, concatenated pipes are better for carrying higher bit rates of traffic.

"Right now we are using the channelized OC-192 interfaces," says William Hoffman, a spokesperson for AT&T. "But we plan to also use the concatenated interfaces when they become available in volume. We had a very robust bake-off selection process, and Avici came out on top."

While only the largest of backbone providers are ready for OC-192 interfaces right now, it’s clear that service providers are looking for a clear growth path, says Pete Chadwick, vice president of marketing for Avici.

"For a certain class of customers, it’s becoming another checklist item," he says. "It’s going to take some time before OC-192 is the predominant backbone speed, but you can’t get through the evaluation process without it."

So, where is routing market leader Cisco Systems with its OC-192 development? The company says that it’s on target to deliver OC-192 interfaces by the end of this quarter.

But Cisco is already suffering the consequences of not being first to market. In the latest report issued by The Dell'Oro Group, Juniper Networks' core and edge router market share grew from 22% in the previous quarter to 29% from July through September 2000. Coincidentally, Cisco’s market share was down from 72% in the previous quarter to 68% in the third quarter of 2000. Such changes have been attributed, in part, to Juniper’s OC-192 offering.

"OC-192 has been one of the most important growth drivers for Juniper from September to December [2000]," says Paul Johnson, senior technology analyst for Robertson Stephens. "IP traffic aggregates pretty quickly, and iits going to become increasingly more critical to support. "

Avici now will compete head to head with Juniper. But Avici and some analysts are quick to point out differences between the two products.

"The fact that Avici has a more scaleable architecture than Juniper’s fixed configuration is why they were considered exclusively by AT&T," says Epoch Partners’ Spalding.

This story, "Avici takes on OC-192 " was originally published by Network World.

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