Alcatel-Lucent's backbone convergence play

Eve Griliches, IDC
24 Sep 2009

Editor's note: Alcatel-Lucent announced its vision of a converged backbone to provide application enablement for telecom service providers, a strategy that includes creating a high leverage network. Alcatel-Lucent's vision speaks to two important telecom carrier issues: the need to lower cost per bit and the ability to sell high-touch services that expand revenue opportunities. In this column, Eve Griliches, IDC telecom equipment program director , analyzes Alcatel-Lucent's vision and how a "converged backbone," could leverages IP and optical assets to yield improvements in both IP and transport efficiencies and result in capital and operational savings.

A high leverage network (HLN), by definition, is an all-IP network that can deliver high-end services to market faster at a lower cost per bit. Alcatel-Lucent's vision of application enablement via a high-leverage network really resounds for telecom service providers that are struggling to raise their revenue while addressing the increasing cost of their network.

A HLN requires four key technologies: wired and wireless broadband access, along with IP and optical networking. Alcatel-Lucent has been delivering solutions for all of these technologies for awhile, but the next phase is a more sophisticated evolution of service delivery, a high-performance solution called the converged backbone.

The key element of the converged backbone is to assist operators in extracting value from the network (by enabling new services and applications) while minimizing additional investments. This can be done by optimizing transport efficiency within the converged backbone while taking into account the service mix traversing the network.

Few vendors have strong product lines in all of these areas, especially in the IP and optical domains. Typically a router vendor will excel in the operator and enterprise domain with little to no optical expertise. Or an optical vendor may deliver high-bit-rate platforms but provide little IP expertise or integration services. Alcatel-Lucent is uniquely positioned in this area with significant expertise as well as extensive deployments.

It makes sense that Alcatel-Lucent plans to leverage what it has in-house to deliver new and interesting integrated solutions.

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