AT&T offering fully meshed optical service

Carrier promises lower costs with new optical service.

AT&T announced Tuesday its Optical Mesh Service, which offers customers the ability to set up a fully meshed optical network with fewer physical ports, bandwidth on demand and lower costs.

AT&T announced Tuesday its Optical Mesh Service, which offers customers the ability to set up a fully meshed optical network with fewer physical ports, bandwidth on demand and lower costs.

The carrier says its new offering allows customers to share bandwidth among as many locations a customer has on its optical network eliminating the need to have multiple, dedicated optical ports at each site to support a fully meshed environment, says Mike Lesher, director of connectivity and metropolitan networks product management.

An optical customer today that needs connectivity among all sites would have to have multiple ports at each site. With AT&T's service customers instead have a single physical port to AT&T’s Intelligent Optical Network. The customer than selects the bandwidth they need.

For example, a customer could have OC-48 ports at four locations and then an OC-48, 2.488G bit/sec, worth of bandwidth to be shared among these four sites. The service also gives customers the ability to quickly move bandwidth resources among sites.

Using AT&T’s Business Direct customer portal, users can request that all 2.488G bit/sec be dedicated to one of its four sites, Lesher says. This process takes about five to 10 minutes. Customers may need most or all of their bandwidth at one site to handle a distance-learning session or the downloading of the company’s financials, he says.

While most customers will have ports the same size of the dedicated bandwidth, Lesher says customers can also order larger ports, such as OC-48, but only buy the bandwidth they use today, such as an OC-12, 622M bit/sec chunk of optical bandwidth. This allows customers to have the physical port in place they may need in the future, but only buy the bandwidth they use today, he says.

A customer with four or five dedicated OC-48 nodes could see a 30% to 35% cost reduction when moving to AT&T’s Optical Mesh Service, Lesher says. He does caution that costs vary widely depending on the number of nodes a customer needs and how much bandwidth they are purchasing.

The service is available today.

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