Cisco and access:Seven:
A Powerful Protocol Connects Customers, Partners, and Profitability
MPLS. It's amazing how four letters can open the doors to opportunity. Germany-based access:Seven Communications GmbH, a Solution Provider of broadband telecommunication services addressing the enterprise-market, thought the same, when they decided to buy Profi.net Hassler & Mair AG. The technology of Profi.net allows access:Seven to offer virtual private network (VPN) services over an access-independent Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) infrastructure. The company saw the potential of MPLS to meet its customers' growing requirements for high-quality, scalable telecommunication services. access:Seven recently undertook a significant network upgrade and expansion program built on IP+ATM network solutions from Cisco Systems. Now the company is connecting with customers anywhere in the world, building mutually beneficial partnerships with other carriers, and maintaining complete control over its network offerings and quality of service (QoS).
"We had a successful Cisco router network that enabled us to be a leading solution provider," said Ralf Koehler, CEO of access:Seven. "However, the future was clear. We needed a powerful ATM backbone solution that allowed us to monitor quality of service and flexible IP capabilities to deliver new, high-margin voice and data services in addition to our current offerings."
access:Seven seriously evaluated a wide range of potential IP+ATM network solutions. However, when it came down to the finalists, only Cisco offered an IP+ATM solution and the MPLS capabilities that access:Seven wanted today. The other vendors lacked true integration of IP and ATM capabilities and deployments, and none could match the proven QoS delivered by Cisco ATM backbone solutions. A strong global presence with many MPLS implementations also ensured support for access:Seven's networks around the world.
"Cisco enables us to ensure quality of servicethose three words so important to our customers," said Koehler. "When coupled with security and the scalability to easily accommodate growth, the Cisco solution gives us the ability to meet our stated goal of delivering quality WAN solutions for demanding and security-conscious business customers."
Cisco QoS features were important, but MPLS was the compelling reason that access:Seven chose Cisco. Only Cisco could deliver MPLS capabilities today, enabling access:Seven to begin offering differentiated IP services and QoS options as soon as possible. As network traffic increases and service offerings proliferate, access:Seven can migrate its current Cisco BPX® and MGX™ switches to the network edge to ensure continuous scalability. Nondisruptive network evolution will help access:Seven maintain its investment in network equipment and continue to grow (Figure 1).
Figure 1: A Network to Grow A Network to Grow
Figure 1 shows access:Seven's backbone, which covers all of Germany. Additional points of presence (POPs) in Europe and connections to the United States are also in production.
access:Seven's global IP+ATM network is based on the Cisco BPX 8680 IP Universal Service Node, consisting of the Cisco MGX 8850 and BPX 8650 broadband multiservice switches. A proven carrier-class solution, the Cisco BPX 8680 IP Universal Service Node delivers multiservice transport for all trafficATM, Frame Relay, circuit emulation (X.25 for switch management), voice, and video. ATM transport provides bandwidth management capabilities, 99.999 percent service availability, and high scalability due to the high port density of the BPX Switch.
access:Seven deployed IP for Layer 3 services to connect with customers and partners and ensure end-to-end QoS. Cisco IP+ATM also enables access:Seven to be among the first providers to offer access-independent VPN services with defined QoS parameters. In addition, the Cisco network can be centrally managed and provisioned, eliminating the high cost and time required for manually provisioning circuit-switched services.
Corporations increasingly outsource their WAN services to access:Seven, which provides them with end-to-end service from a single vendor. Services include Internet connectivity, VPNs, centralized security management, and future services such as voice over IP (VoIP), video over IP, Web -TV, and multicast services.
Many access:Seven customers are companies with domestic and foreign branches, subsidiaries, field and home office facilities, and complex sales structures that include strategic trading partners or franchisees. These companies rely on access:Seven to ensure secure, real-time data exchange and for Internet connectivity to enable information searches, e-mail services, and customer communication applications.
"All communication runs over our own lines," says Koehler, "which are centrally managed and monitored 24x7 by our network operation center [NOC]. This gives us unmatched control over QoS to assure that our customers receive the best possible service quality and availability." Centralized management is achieved using Cisco WAN Manager and CiscoWorks + VPN Switch Controller (SC). This robust management solution enables access:Seven to centrally manage all of its router, dial access servers, backbone switches, and operation support systems (OSS). Streamlined administration reduces management costs and frees staff to focus on proactive service advances instead of routine daily maintenance. Cisco MPLS features also significantly simplify VPN creation and provisioning. Now access:Seven can create and launch new VPN service in a fraction of the time otherwise required for implementing and provisioning a leased line.
access:Seven is also a member of the Cisco Powered Network program, ensuring networking services with the highest quality and availability for its customers. Not only do access:Seven's corporate customers appreciate this, so does access:Seven's growing base of partners. Because of the network's open MPLS capabilities, access:Seven can easily partner with almost any other carrier. MPLS enable both carriers to leverage each other's network to expand traffic and business with less risk than each having to build out new network extensions themselves. Both partners can generate new revenue and extend their reach.
access:Seven plans to offer IP voice services over the ATM network and applications services and expand its partnerships to enable other service providers to deliver VoIP connectivity to their customers. And then? One thing is surethe world is access:Seven's oyster and its Cisco IP+ATM network will allow it to grow beyond boundaries.