Case Study: CenturyLink consolidates its long-distance network

Matt Beal, CTO of CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), isn't afraid of large-scale technology transitions. Prior to joining CenturyLink in 2008, Beal, along with other fellow former Williams Communications executive Matt Bross, led the development of long-term BT's 21 CN network initiative.

CenturyLink combined coverage mapOf course, the pace that BT and CenturyLink move on network transitions could not be any more different. Right off the bat, Beal admits that "it's kind of funny going from a company like BT that forecasts a lot of its moves so far ahead to one where we're almost done before we talk about it."

Now in the process of acquiring Qwest Communications, the former CenturyTel and Embarq had been faced with the having to carry out various systems and network initiatives. Since coming to CenturyLink--which subsequently made its name official recently following its merger with the former EMBARQ in just the past few weeks--Beal realized that the service provider needed to connect its disparate long-distance voice network islands when it acquired the former Embarq.

"One of our bigger network initiatives is the consolidation of our long-distance and voice traffic onto a common long-distance network," Beal said. "Obviously, we implemented it in a fashion that's forward compatible with the IMS evolution, but our key opportunity was really how we can rapidly and cost effectively consolidate the LD network of EMBARQ into CenturyTel."

Rapid was a good word to describe the transition. To achieve a cost effective and rapid consolidation of its long distance voice network consolidation goal, CenturyLink turned to Sonus Networks.

CenturyLink combined coverage mapAlong with accommodating its own voice traffic, Sonus' (Nasdaq: SONS) Network Border Switch will enable CenturyLink to more effectively interconnect with other service providers and create a foundation for new services, including media transcoding.

In just four months, the service provider completed the first phase of its IP voice infrastructure deployment, which will be built out in 22 U.S. cities. Needing to support seven million voice lines from two networks--the former EMBARQ and the former CenturyTel--without any disruptions, the new network deployment gives CenturyLink centralized management of its IP voice traffic. 

"We had the concept, but didn't have a business case at the time we close of July 1, but now we have built, implemented and migrated the majority of our traffic onto the common network networks onto one common network," Beal said.

Case Study: CenturyLink consolidates its long-distance network