One of Telecom Italia's strategies for success is to deliver new services that enable its customers to enjoy a full complement of advanced capabilities from a single provider. By choosing Cisco® integrated services routers as its primary platforms, Telecom Italia significantly reduced deployment costs and improved manageability.
One of Europe's leading information and communication technology providers, the Telecom Italia Group offers a comprehensive range of advanced communications services. From residential wireline telephone service to mobile telephony, Internet access, and complete business voice, data, and video services, Telecom Italia continuously brings innovative new services to market to meet its customers' rapidly evolving needs.
Business customers represent one of the company's most significant sources of revenue, as well as a target for many new industry competitors who seek to capture market share from the incumbent Telecom Italia. In response to competitive pressures, Telecom Italia's strategy is to build on core communication services with new features, innovative "triple-play" data, voice, and video services, and managed service portfolios. At the same time, the company aims to make it easier than ever to provision new services - virtually on demand - to enhance customer satisfaction and reduce time to revenue.
There are approximately 40,000 medium and large enterprises in Italy, for whom Telecom Italia has designed its portfolio of Full Business Services, including its Interbusiness and Hyperway services. With the goal of delivering a suite of managed services for these business customers, Telecom Italia established new criteria for choosing its next generation of customer premises equipment (CPE) routers.
"Manageability is an important criterion for any new solution because we must be able to easily manage the specific networking solution that we design for each customer," explains Claudio Contini, marketing director for Telecom Italia. "Security is a critical issue and the solution also must be cost-effective. We evaluated all of these features before making a decision."
Telecom Italia has been a customer of Cisco Systems®for many years, and the company's overall infrastructure is built on Cisco networking solutions, including its IP over Multiprotocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS)-enabled network backbone. Telecom Italia wanted to maintain the ease-of-integration advantages that its customers have obtained from the wide range of Cisco customer premises equipment (CPE) that is already deployed while allowing customers to be able to take advantage of the future benefits that will be delivered through its IP/MPLS network. For these reasons, the company again chose Cisco and the Cisco Integrated Services Router for its new generation of CPE solutions.
"Cisco integrated services routers give us an opportunity to provide customers with a solution that includes high performance, a wide range of connectivity options, and new services. In addition to delivering high performance, the Cisco integrated services routers allow us to take full advantage of our advanced network and service platforms to deliver more benefits to customers than ever before."
- Claudio Contini, marketing director, Telecom Italia
Before new network equipment is deployed in Telecom Italia's network, it is tested exhaustively and certified for the most suitable range of deployments. The entire Cisco Integrated Services Router family of products - including the Cisco 1800, 2800, and 3800 series routers - went through extensive testing to validate its capabilities. All Cisco integrated services routers received Telecom Italia certification for their connectivity capabilities, including ADSL, Symmetric High-Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber Loop (SHDSL), inverse multiplexing over ATM (IMA), ATM/Frame Relay, and Gigabit Ethernet. The systems were fully certified for delivering voice, high-performance data, Internet access suitability, security features, and MPLS virtual private network (VPN) services. One of the first major telecommunications providers in Europe to launch MPLS VPN services, Telecom Italia aims to move as many customers to this infrastructure as possible in order to gain greater flexibility for delivering new services.
"We have built a large customer base on our MPLS infrastructure," says Contini. "Cisco integrated services routers give us an opportunity to provide these customers with a solution that includes high performance, a wide range of connectivity options, and new services. In addition to delivering high performance, Cisco integrated services routers allow us to take full advantage of our advanced network and service platforms to deliver more benefits to customers than ever before."
Cisco integrated services routers represent the industry's first portfolio that is engineered for secure delivery of concurrent data, voice, and video services - including wireless. While the choice of specific Cisco Integrated Services Router model varies according to customer need, Telecom Italia can implement the full range of functionality built into the Cisco Integrated Services Router.
For example, the Telecom Italia Full Business Security Portfolio takes advantage of the industry's most comprehensive security services embedded within the router and integrated with high-performance routing and other services. Security features in the Full Business Security Portfolio include Cisco IOS® Software-based VPN, firewall, and intrusion prevention system (IPS) services. The Cisco IOS Firewall forms the basis of Telecom Italia's offering for perimeter security. It provides a single-device security and routing solution for protecting WAN entry points into the network. Inline IPS underlies the company's security service designed to help protect customers' internal networks from external threats, and it provides a deep-packet-inspection-based solution that effectively mitigates network attacks.
Telecom Italia is currently qualifying the routers' dynamic multipoint VPN (DMVPN) capabilities. When certified, DMVPN can be used to help customers implement fully meshed site-to-client IP Security (IPSec) tunnels between their branch offices. It would also employ strong encryption techniques, such as triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Optional enhanced VPN encryption acceleration is available for the Cisco integrated services routers to further extend scalability.
Cisco integrated services routers also include integrated IP Communications features, such as Cisco CallManager Express (CME). With Cisco CME, Telecom Italia will be able to provide customers with "right-sized" IP Communications capabilities throughout their organizations. Built-in Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) features will provide failover call processing for high resiliency.
For specialized requirements, Cisco Application-Oriented Networking (AON) technology allows application message-level intelligence into the network to better meet the underlying needs of applications for real-time visibility, security, event-based messaging, optimized delivery, and other core integration and deployment services. Cisco IOS IP Service-Level Agreement (SLA) may also be used for specific customer requirements, such as to provide active monitoring for measuring the performance for voice or video traffic over the network.
At the network edge, customers' Cisco integrated services routers connect to a range of Cisco edge routing solutions, including Cisco 7500, 7600, and 10000 series routers. The Cisco 7600 and Cisco 10000 series are integrated, high-density, carrier-class IP/MPLS routing platforms. Together, they provide a flexible solution for Telecom Italia's network edge and deliver consistent, high-performance Ethernet broadband aggregation and subscriber services.
With certification complete, Telecom Italia is now ready to offer customers its complete offering of Full Business Services, including Full Business Voice/Data, Internet access, VPN, and security managed services, based on Cisco integrated services routers.
"The most significant benefit of the Cisco Integrated Services Router to Telecom Italia is that is gives us the ability to offer our customers a full range of valuable services that we can activate or deactivate quickly at a low incremental cost," says Contini. "It fits our strategy and it delivers outstanding investment protection as well." Telecom Italia expects that the versatile router will enable it to increase the range of concurrent services it can sell to existing customers and significantly increase margin and revenue.
New services can be quickly deployed without having to change equipment. For customers, this eliminates the need to seek other providers for specific capabilities. Customer can augment their high-performance data connections with a full complement of business services from one provider and minimize their need to maintain staff for supporting complex technologies and multiple solutions internally.
For Telecom Italia, the ability to deliver multiple services through a single device dramatically reduces the cost of provisioning - a benefit that would improve profitability even without the revenue generated by the new services.
The company plans to extend its offerings to deliver future wireless, video communication, and managed application services. With wireless features integrated into Cisco integrated services routers, Telecom Italia will be able to offer cost-effective wireless data solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as to its large enterprise customers.
Businesses in Italy now have an extraordinary range of advanced services from which to choose. Fortunately, the choice is much easier when they are all available from one provider. With the Cisco Integrated Services Router, Telecom Italia can help its customers put together a complete communication package - on one integrated premises device.
This customer story is based on information provided by Telecom Italia and describes how that particular organization benefits from the deployment of Cisco products. Many factors may have contributed to the results and benefits described; Cisco does not guarantee comparable results elsewhere.
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