Stories by Tim Greene

Qwest and IXC Join Big Boys with DSL Offerings

Long-haul carriers Qwest and IXC are separately adding digital subscriber line services to their local access portfolios, enabling customers to tie remote offices to central sites for less than alternative methods.
Customers can go to one carrier and order the local access and long-distance segments of the service rather than dealing with two separate providers.
Although it is not available in as many places as dedicated lines, 1.5M bit/sec DSL service at $300 to $400 per month is less expensive than alternative connections. T-1 lines, for instance, can cost more than $1,000 per month.

Standard needed so VPN failures can be detected

The Internet Engineering Task Force is working to plug a gap in the IP Security virtual private network standard that lets VPN gear continue to send packets even after the equipment receiving the data has failed.
Because IPSec is the authentication and encryption standard that most VPN vendors are adopting, the standard should spell out how VPN tunnel servers can quickly discover that the peer or client it was talking to has died, industry experts say.

Bell Atlantic Says "Me, Too" Regarding DSL

Following quickly in the footsteps of GTE and Ameritech, Bell Atlantic says it will speed up its deployment of digital subscriber line services.
The company says customer demand for the high-speed dedicated access service prompted it to step up its schedule.
Until this week, Bell Atlantic planned to put DSL equipment into 353 switching offices by year-end. The plan now includes 700 switching offices. Bell Atlantic had originally planned to equip 805 offices by the end of next year, that number has been raised to 1,000.
The company would not say exactly how long it will take to get all of its 2000-plus switching offices upgraded, but acknowledged it would take years.

AOL Deals Give ADSL a Boost

America Online is becoming a driving force behind the deployment of ADSL.
In separate agreements, AOL has recently committed to wholesaling asymmetric digital subscriber line from Ameritech and GTE for the purpose of reselling it packaged with Internet access.
The AOL deal with Ameritech is big enough to move Ameritech's DSL deployment from on-hold to active, with Ameritech promising to equip its switching offices in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin with ADSL gear.
Ameritech's ADSL business plan called for wholesaling the service, but the carrier first wanted to clear up regulatory concerns about leasing parts of its network to other carriers.

Carriers to Debut Innovative IP Services

Over the next few months, IP-based carriers will start introducing innovative new voice and data services, and will give customers extraordinary control over the services they buy.
Starting with rudimentary voice over IP, the carriers will then offer advanced capabilities, such as Centrex, and gradually develop more complex features, such as a combination of voice, e-mail and fax messaging.
In conjunction with customer devices that are under development, carriers could develop advanced services such as Dolby stereo audioconferencing, desktop voice and data conferencing, and phones that integrate with Web browsers, says Ike Elliott, vice president of softswitch-enabled services at Level 3 Communications. "There will not be limits anymore," he says.

ATM in the local loop

Telecomms hardware and service providers are trying to make it easier to converge all kinds of traffic onto the local-loop portion of public data networks.

AT&T buying spree could be over

AT&T Chairman C Michael Armstrong says if he succeeds in buying MediaOne, he will be done purchasing cable networks to provide access to local voice and data customers.