Appian Switch Dishes Bandwidth in Small Chunks

FRAMINGHAM (04/05/2000) - If you can get an entire wavelength of bandwidth to your door, how do you break that down into the bite-sized chunks your network applications really want?

Appian Communications says you do it with OSAP 4800, its optical services activation platform being announced this week. It dishes off bandwidth to corporate customers in pieces as small as 64K-bps via 10M-bps, 100M-bps or Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The switch is designed for carriers that make direct fiber connections to customer sites, then sell services at speeds slower than the OC-48 that a single wavelength of light carries to the OSAP 4800. Typically, carriers will place one of the switches in an office park or business high-rise and serve multiple customers off each one.

The device offers customers services that will be simpler to use because hooking up to an OSAP 4800 requires nothing more than an Ethernet port on a corporate router. Traditional services require DSU/ CSUs, multiplexers, or frame relay or ATM switches to connect to the WAN.

The device is particularly well-suited for data services but could also be used to carry voice, says Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp., a technology assessment firm in Voorhees, N.J.

OSAP 4800 includes T-1 ports to connect to PBXs, and if a customer has IP-voice equipment, that can be passed on to the network as Ethernet traffic, says Appian CEO Mick Scully.

To ensure voice quality, the device prioritizes traffic using a proprietary scheme that includes weighted fair queuing and supports the Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) standard. Corporate routers can set priority for different types of traffic using MPLS, and those MPLS designations can be mapped to whatever protocol is used on the carrier network to ensure the proper quality of service (QoS) is enforced across the service provider's network.

OSAP supports time-division multiplexing, frame relay, IP and ATM, Appian says.

Because it will enforce QoS, service providers can use it to deliver burstable services. A customer might buy a guaranteed 1.5M-bps but also pay for the ability to use up to 3M-bps if the extra bandwidth is available and traffic bursts above the guaranteed 1.5M-bps, Scully says.

OSAP 4800 will be available this summer for a base price of $25,000.

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