tw telecom sets stage for network service automation

tw telecom (Nasdaq: TWTC) believes that customers should have more control in getting the bandwidth they want, when they want it, in a more automated fashion.

Speaking at the recent Cowen and Company 40th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Larissa Herda, CEO and Chairman of tw telecom--joined by Michael Rouleau, Senior VP of Business Development--outlined the details of its new intelligent network initiative that will allow customers to dial up bandwidth and enact better control over their applications.

Although the new automated capabilities are still in beta testing, the service provider did reveal that there are three phases to the intelligent network drive targeted at its IP/VPN and Ethernet portfolio: enhanced management, dynamic capacity and application aware network.

With enhanced management, the customer will be able to see the performance of the circuit in the metro, long-haul and remote office end.

Initially, this enhanced management capability will be available to the IP/VPN across its footprint and for its Ethernet services.

"It gives them information about how that's performing so they can make better decisions about how to manage their traffic across their network and their applications performance, and it's done in real time," said Rouleau. "Having the granularity to understand what's going on in the first mile and the long piece gives them the opportunity to do better fault isolation, trouble management and traffic management."

Leveraging their Ethernet infrastructure and the data centers where they have connected their fiber to, the dynamic capacity feature will enable the customer to increase their capacity in real-time in an on-demand basis.

Currently in beta, this feature allows a business customer to go into a portal to double or triple their capacity. The system will tell them how much it will cost on a per Mbps hour basis to increase that bandwidth, and when the customer hits submit the system will check if the capacity is there, provisions the circuit and provides that capability all without any impact on their regular service.

Rouleau said that customers will also be able to schedule capacity increases for specific events where they know they need it for a specific network event.

"Let's say a customer has a data backup or storage area network they are trying to replicate that might happen from midnight on Saturday night 'til 6 a.m. on Sunday morning so they can schedule that," he said.

Larissa Herda said that the reason it can do this and others can't is because tw telecom continually made improvements to the network with a long-term plan to create its "platform of one."

"What this does for customers is it simplifies their network management, it reduces their costs and allows them to deploy products and innovate faster," she said. "What they do today is if they have 10 Mbps of capacity, they try to do everything with that 10 Mbps, which means that there will be times when they depress certain applications and they don't perform as well as it does at midnight."

Herda added that a customer "can go to 30 Mbps for six hours," for example, "and it's a small incremental cost for those six hours."

Finally, with the application-aware network, a customer will be able to get more control of what's going on in their network so they can prioritize in real-time certain applications over others and apply network resources to those mission critical applications.

"If a customer is running PeopleSoft on their network and they want to put that in their top priority queue, they also might want to mitigate their best effort traffic, like YouTube or iTunes, so it does not steal from the PeopleSoft application," Rouleau said.

Targeting its existing IP/VPN and Ethernet customers makes sense: In Q1 2012, tw telecom saw these services grow 23.7 percent year-over-year.

For more:
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