WAN Service Promises LAN Speeds, Low Costs

SAN FRANCISCO (07/07/2000) - Yipes Communications Inc. has a new VPN offering that makes high-speed wide-area networking more attractive.

The service, Yipes WAN, connects sites via VPNs at LAN speeds and at prices that beat traditional WAN services, according to the company.

For example, Yipes charges $19,600 per site to connect to its national VPN backbone at 45M bit/sec, the speed of a DS-3 line. By contrast, a local DS-3 line between two points in a metropolitan area would cost about $45,000, says Michael Kennedy, an analyst with Network Strategy Partners in Boston. That would include only local transport.

The Yipes service includes VPN gear, routers, Internet access and local-loop access as well as long-haul transport across Yipes' VPN backbone, the company says.

The cost of the service can be even more compelling. If a customer has multiple sites in the same metropolitan area, only one needs to connect to the WAN backbone. The remainder can be connected to that site via Yipes' less expensive metropolitan-area network service.

In addition, because the service is based on Ethernet, corporate IT staff doesn't need training in frame relay or ATM to deal with its WAN, says Deb Mielke, principal with Treillage Network Strategies in Dallas. "If customers can use Ethernet, it cuts training and other operational costs," she says.

Yipes' services are available in 1M bit/sec increments, so customers are not constrained by the size of traditional services that jump from the 1.5M bit/sec of a T-1 line to the 45M bit/sec of a T-3 line. A customer could buy a 10M bit/sec service to transparently connect 10M bit/sec Ethernet LANs at separate sites without paying for an oversized T-3 connection.

One drawback is the service is only available in nine metropolitan areas:

Boston; Chicago; Fort Collins, Colorado; Miami; Philadelphia; Palo Alto; Riverside, California; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C. The company says it will be available in 20 cities by year-end.

B2B Connect Inc., a local carrier in San Francisco, says it will buy bandwidth from Yipes to support its service. B2B buys fiber lines to run into commercial buildings and sells VPN and applications services to business tenants. "I don't think we could have gotten a service like this from any other provider," says Dave Parker, B2B's director of sales.

He says traditional local exchange carriers have local fiber but lack the equipment to provide the same services Yipes does.

Mielke says as newer technology hits the market later this year, she expects other carriers to offer services similar to Yipes'.

Yipes' WAN service is based on Gigabit Ethernet. Yipes connects to a customer site with a fiber-optic cable, and installs an Extreme Gigabit Ethernet switch.

The customer plugs a router into the switch via an Ethernet port. The local connection ties into a Yipes point of presence, where traffic is routed on a Juniper Networks Inc. Gigabit router to the Yipes WAN backbone. That core network is leased from a combination of Level 3 Communications Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc. and UUNET Technologies Inc., as well as other carriers in certain markets.

Another drawback is that initially Yipes cannot offer end-to-end service-level agreements (SLA), but that will come later, company officials say. Yipes says it wants actual experience with its backbone providers so it can offer SLAs it can stand by. The company is shooting for an 85- to 95-millisecond delay or less end to end, says Gloria Farler, vice president of product marketing.

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More about B2B ConnectCommunications InternationalJuniper NetworksLevel 3 CommunicationsNetwork Strategy PartnersNewer TechnologyQwestQwest CommunicationsSECTreillage Network StrategiesUunetUUNET TechnologiesYipes Communications

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