Part III: Burying the dinosaur

FierceTelecom: Okay, so Ethernet services are a big focus. Are there specific flavors/speeds that your carrier customers are requesting?

Adams:  I can go all the way from low-speed copper-based services, but I don't have any plans of utilizing any of my ILEC collocation site to access loops to provide enterprise services. We would take that opportunity probably reluctantly. Right now, it is low speed, copper-based 10 Mbps and 10G. By January, I should be able to offer 100 Gbps service between Chicago and the West Coast.

FierceTelecom: Are you offering these services strictly over your own facilities?

Adams: It's all our own fiber. Like I said, there are three layers within the architecture.  There's the DWDM layer, and besides that would be the Layer 3 network feeding directly into our Layer 2 network. Our Layer 2 network is based on the Alcatel-Lucent's 7450 and 7750 switched router platforms.

FierceTelecom: While 360networks is not a LEC, you have been around for over 20 years so that means you must have a lot of legacy gear still in your network. How do you make sense of the network layers?

360networks legacy servicesAdams: The lowest common denominator here is Ethernet. As we cap and grow legacy services, one of the fortunate positions we're in is in some of these network routes. If you drew a line between Seattle through Denver, everything south of Denver and Seattle was at or near capacity, going out of capacity, in 2009. We had to make some decisions about the platforms we had in place, which included Ciena and Nortel. When we looked at that we could have cobbled on components and grew organically, but our growth was going to be limited. What we decided was to go with the 1830 Alcatel-Lucent photonic switch.

We're basically upgrading that entire southern portion of the network. At that point, our network will be comprised of the northern tier, which is Seattle through Denver, with Infinera, and the Alcatel-Lucent 1830 photonic switch platform in the south. The Alcatel-Lucent 7740 and 7750 platforms will be Layer 2 routers with the MX480 sitting beside, with their own connection within the DWDM fabric.

We're now down to four platforms. While we still have some legacy Cisco networks sitting behind that fabric, most of that equipment is used for dedicated end-user services. As the life expectancy of those devices and software goes out of cycle, we'll just transition those services into the Alcatel-Lucent 7450 and 7750 systems. We're decommissioning things left and right. We've taken out a lot of Ciena and Nortel long haul gear.

Basically, we're using these step functions to not get caught in the trap of continuing to barnacle on solutions to build upon a dinosaur, but rather we're burying the dinosaur.

Part III: Burying the dinosaur