Mid-Atlantic Broadband taps Cyan to scale its Ethernet-based backhaul network

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Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation (MBC), an emerging middle mile provider, is responding to its wireless operator and business customers' desire for Ethernet-based services by leveraging Cyan's platforms for its regional metro network.

What drove MBC to Cyan was a need to overcome the various limitations with its existing regional TDM-based SONET transport network.

While it still does provide OC-3 and other related SONET services to local carriers, the challenge was being able to scale with its wireless operators customers' growing need for higher bandwidth at their cell sites, while creating an overall path to provide next-gen Ethernet services.

"What we have seen is a tremendous explosion of cell site backhaul requirements," said Tad Deriso, president and CEO of MBC, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Over the last 18 months, we have turned up 70 new cell sites."

Like other wholesale operators, MBC initially offered T-1 access, but over time its customers started to demand 50 Mbps and above speeds. However, it found that its legacy Ciena platform was not suitable to satisfy its customers' new requirements.

"What we were finding on our Ethernet platform, the Ciena 6500 system, is we provision as an STS so that it's Ethernet over SONET and the overhead of that circuit was 46-47 k," Deriso said. "The cell carriers were going nuts because they could not get their full 50 Mbps, plus they needed the ability to burst and we could not do that with our existing platform."

Since MBC is an open access wholesale provider, it said it also needed a Layer 2 solution that would not expose customer virtual local area network (VLAN) traffic.

For this project, MBC deployed Cyan's Z-Series Packet-Optical Platforms and Blue Planet, an open software definable networking (SDN) orchestration platform to manage its multi-vendor network environment to control its network and automate the service provisioning process. For wireless backhaul, Blue Planet will allow MBC to orchestrate multiple layers across the backhaul link to guarantee predictable packet services performance, high availability and low latency.

What's more, the Cyan platforms are also compliant with the Metro Ethernet Forum's (MEF) Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) initiative.

Deriso said that by deploying the Cyan gear, it "has been able to turn up sites for probably about 50 percent less capex than we were spending on our prior solution."

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