FierceTelecom: I imagine that the UDSL is getting a lot of traction with both U.S. and international customers?
Moukadam: Yes, there's a lot of trials and positive feedback in various parts of the world.
FierceTelecom: In addition to DSL, the other major area of focus for Sunrise is Ethernet, including the advent of an External Network to Network Interconnection (E-NNI) standard. What is Sunrise doing to target new opportunities in the Ethernet services market?
Moukadam: The way we look at it from a high level in terms of drivers are businesses migrating from legacy SONET and TDM to Ethernet. A lot of customers want more bandwidth and dial in different bandwidth on a circuit because upgrading from a T1 to a DS3 is becoming ancient in terms of cost and convenient. A lot of carriers of course are going to Ethernet for business services where they can dial in different bandwidth rates and charge fees depending on how much bandwidth the customer wants. There's a lot of Gigabit Ethernet activity. We have our best in class product, which was a SunLite GigE, a palm sized tester. Then, for 10 GigE, we introduced a tablet tester called the XTT 5000, which is compact with rich functionality and relatively easy to use. The other piece of Ethernet is in wireless operators upgrading their backhaul network to Ethernet. At the same time the issue with Ethernet for wireless backhaul is time synchronization, frequency, time of day synchronization all becomes critical as you move to 4G, but Ethernet is the way to go in terms of bandwidth and convenience. As phase and frequency synchronization issues become standardized, it will accelerate the deployment of Ethernet for wireless backhaul.
FierceTelecom: Okay, Ethernet has been accepted as the soup du jour for wireless backhaul. From a test/measurement perspective, what is Sunrise doing to respond to this drive?
Moukadam: There is a demand, but it's really an emerging demand for wireless backhaul. There are also a lot of cases in the world where people still want one tester for Ethernet and SONET at same time. We offer that in the MTT where they may be running a DS3, E3, or T1/E1 and they a single tester, which has worked pretty well for us.
FierceTelecom: The test/measurement space has gone through various transitions over the past 10 years, including various waves of consolidation of its own. Can you give us a sense of the state of the industry in 2010 and what customers want from Sunrise?
Moukadam: What we are seeing is more service providers doing more with less. Where they do more with less could mean a multi-function tester. Even more importantly, service providers are asking how do they optimize their workflow of their technician and tie information in terms of testing into their back office to look at various trends. Service providers are also asking how do we learn how each technician is spending their time and how do they optimize that and shrink it down across thousands of technicians? Finding out how to do that will help them increase productivity if it's done right.
We've been putting a lot of emphasis on that area with our realGATE asset and results management system used for workflow and process optimization for the technician. With a server-based system, the service provider can upgrade the test sets by putting the software on the realGATE server and the technicians can download the latest version.
In reverse, when a technician goes and does an installation, they can push a key and upload the test results to the same server and it has a query and analysis capability to allow the back office to look at trends and optimization. Then, it can make a decision on how to optimize the workflow, which is becoming more and more important across the industry. By improving the performance of the workforce, service providers will improve the performance of the network because as they find common anomalies they can address those root causes and improve the performance because it will enable them to avoid recurring problems after installation.