News Release

AT&T Deploys Nationwide Intelligent Optical Network

New Technology Restores Service Faster After Failure or Disasters
Feb 11, 2002

February 11, 2002

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - AT&T has deployed a new nationwide intelligent optical network which will restore service faster in the event of a failure or disaster. This new network will also provide the capability to dramatically shorten provisioning time for new high-speed circuits for business customers who have direct access to the network.

AT&T's new intelligent optical network currently connects more than 40 U.S. cities and is carrying "live" traffic.

The intelligent optical network makes it possible to restore service faster in the event of a failure. Switches can automatically reroute traffic after such an incident because each switch has a comprehensive map of all available routes.

This multi-vendor, next-generation network features intelligent optical switches and multi-service platforms that are carrying new private-line, Internet, voice, data, and video traffic.

The "intelligence" in the switches comes from innovative software that uses sophisticated real-time signaling and routing algorithms to make decisions without the need for manual intervention.

"This is not merely a vision statement nor a field trial, but rather a nationwide deployment of new technology that will significantly improve the capabilities we provide our business customers," said Dan Sheinbein, vice president, AT&T Labs network architecture and development. "The AT&T intelligent optical network will enable automatic provisioning and restoration of wavelengths and private-line services, often referred to as bandwidth-on-demand or point-and-click provisioning."

The intelligent optical network is based on two technology building blocks. The first is the intelligent optical switch. This equipment carries traffic at a variety of bit-rates, from 45 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps), provisioning service via point-and-click capability at both ends of the circuit. In addition, the intelligent optical switch can automatically restore these circuits across a mesh backbone following fiber cuts or other failures. The CIENA CoreDirectorT will provide these core optical switching functions. These CoreDirector switches are deployed in more than 40 cities nationwide. Current plans call for that total to increase significantly in the future.

Multi-service platforms (MSP) represent the second technology building block. The Cisco ONS 15454 SONET Multiservice Platform will provide these edge-vehicle MSP functions, aggregating lower-rate customer traffic up to high-speed (OC-48 or OC-192) pipes for routing across the network by the intelligent optical switches. These systems leapfrog current Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) gear with bandwidth scalability in low-cost, small footprint systems that automatically provision circuits at a variety of bit-rate speeds (from 1.5 Mbps to 10 Gbps, and Gigabit Ethernet). As part of AT&T's intelligent optical network, more than 100 Cisco ONS 15454 systems are deployed today, with significantly more planned for the future. Some of these will be installed on customers' premises and others in the AT&T metropolitan and long-distance networks.

Where deployed, this new technology will help reduce the time to provision high-speed circuits by enabling AT&T people to rapidly provision from one end of the intelligent optical network to the other, after access to the network has been established.

"The intelligent optical switch and MSP technologies, combined with our newly developed operations support systems for provisioning and maintenance, will help to revolutionize our service operations," said George Gawrys, AT&T Labs transport network planning director. "When this automation is coupled with new Web-based and voice-recognition trouble-reporting capabilities, customer concerns can be promptly recorded and resolved."

After a comprehensive evaluation, AT&T chose the CIENA and Cisco products because their functionality matched AT&T's reliability and operational requirements. Both systems passed rigorous certification testing at the AT&T Labs in New Jersey and are now carrying "live" traffic on the AT&T network.

"We are proud that CIENA's CoreDirector is driving the automation that is the cornerstone of AT&T's new intelligent optical network," said Beth Perry, senior vice president, Core Switching Division and Corporate Network management Systems, for CIENA Corporation. "Through this strategic relationship, we look forward to helping AT&T better serve its customers."

"We are pleased that AT&T has selected Cisco as the multi-service platform supplier for its intelligent optical network," said Tom Fallon, Cisco Systems vice president and general manager. "For generations, AT&T has set the standard for state-of-the-art communications services and we are proud to continue our role as a strategic supplier in this next stage of that tradition."

The deployment of intelligent optical switches and multi-service platforms demonstrates that AT&T is actively evolving its infrastructure with state-of-the-art technology. This new network is being built on AT&T's modern, nationwide fiber-optic network. The AT&T domestic network currently includes 63,500 route miles of fiber-optic cable, 46,500 of which handles long-distance traffic, while the remaining 17,000 supports local service. In addition, AT&T is an industry leader in the deployment of Dense Wave Division Multiplexing systems, a technology that allows multiple wavelengths of light to travel a single fiber-optic strand. In 2001, AT&T began installing new systems capable of carrying 160-wavelengths of 10 Gbps each.

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About AT&T

AT&T ( is among the world's premier data, voice, and video communications companies, serving consumers, businesses, and government. Backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs, the company runs the world's largest, most sophisticated communications network and is the largest cable operator in the United States. The company is a leading supplier of data and Internet services for businesses and offers outsourcing, consulting, and networking-integration to large businesses.

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