Accelerated's goal: ASP differentiation

Accelerated Networks, a Moorpark, Calif., broadband access equipment provider, is putting the finishing touches on a management product for broadband networks that complements its existing line of offerings.

Called AccessPilot, the software is targeted at service providers and designed to help them manage networks that use Accelerated's broadband equipment, according to Suresh Nihalani, president and CEO of the company.

"In broadband, service providers look to equipment vendors to supply the network management software to manage the equipment they supply," Nihalani told IDG News Service. "This was an important missing piece for us, because it determines how fast the service provider will roll out the infrastructure and how quickly they can turn on services to subscribers, and have a faster pay-back."

AccessPilot, which was developed at Accelerated Networks' research and development center in Bangalore, is already being beta-tested by some communications services providers, such as Clinton, Miss., WorldCom and Waltham, Mass., CTC Communications Group. The general availability of the product is likely within the next two months. The company's target market includes a variety of carriers, including long-distance carriers, competitive local exchange carriers and regional Bell operating companies.

As customers look to equipment suppliers to offer solutions beyond the hardware, Accelerated Networks is focusing on technologies that will help service providers differentiate their services. AccessPilot is one element of that strategy. The next phase consists of supporting new services on its equipment.

The R&D center in Bangalore will further enhance AccessPilot and also develop software plug-ins into Accelerated Networks' hardware that will enable service providers to create a variety of services on their broadband networks. These services include secure VPNs and "follow me" technology.

"For a service like 'follow me,' for example, we will offer the software to service providers to upgrade their integrated access devices (IAD) in the field and turn on this new service using AccessPilot, and start generating revenue, without changing the equipment," Nihalani explained. "There is a whole bunch of voice and data services that we intend to offer as a service creation layer."

Accelerated Networks offers products that enable telecom service providers to offer multiple voice and data services over broadband networks, using technologies such as DSL, T-1 and DS-3. The company's product line includes carrier-class IADs at customer locations, central office concentrators that support aggregation of multiple IADs for transmission over common DS-3 or OC-3 facilities to upstream networks, and regional point-of-presence packetized voice gateways.

"With these products, we are able to deliver voice and data services which are packetized over a single, broadband access network," added Nihalani. The products designed by the company are contract-manufactured by A-Plus Manufacturing of San Jose.

"Typically in a network there would be thousands of IADs, hundreds of concentrators and a few voice gateways," added Nihalani. "You need software to manage this entire network that will allow the service provider to add or delete subscribers and upgrade services to a customer, right from the central office." AccessPilot allows the service provider to integrate the broadband network management software into the service provider's billing and customer-care applications. "As it has a standards-based ... [Commonn Object Request Broker Architecture] interface, AccessPilot can be stitched easily with the service provider's existing applications," explained Nihalani.

Although there are third-party network management solutions, Accelerated Networks decided to develop its own network management solution around its hardware, Nihalani said, since the more generic platforms need customization specific to the vendor's equipment, he added.

Accelerated Networks can be reached at 805-553-9680 or http://www.acceleratednetworks.com/.

This story, "Accelerated's goal: ASP differentiation" was originally published by Network World.

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