Appian unveils OSAP Ethernet platform

Appian Communications Inc. last week announced general availability of its Ethernet provisioning platform, its first customer and some new features to enhance interoperability with SONET, among other functions.

Appian's Optical Services Activation Platform (OSAP) 4800 switch dishes off bandwidth to corporate customers in pieces as small as 64K bit/sec via 10M bit/sec, 100M bit/sec or Gigabit Ethernet ports. The switch is designed for carriers that make direct fiber connections to customer sites, then sell services at speeds slower than OC-48.

Typically, carriers will place one of the switches in an office park or business high-rise and serve multiple customers off each one. Hooking up to an OSAP 4800 requires nothing more than an Ethernet port on a corporate router.

TelX, a collocation service provider in New York that manages connections between carriers, is Appian's first announced customer for the OSAP 4800.

"We are using it for origination/termination voice circuitry as well as for figuring the metric for determining bandwidth," says Hunter Newby, TelX's executive vice president of strategic planning. "Configuration of circuitry can be changed very quickly."

New features for the OSAP 4800 include IEEE standards-based Ethernet flow control and an International Telecommunications Union X.86-compliant Ethernet encapsulation scheme. This encapsulation technique lets users transmit Ethernet over SONET and SDH.

Other features include 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet media redundancy and a TL-1 SONET management interface. Appian says that OSAP offers 1:N redundancy for 10/100 Ethernet cards, port level protection for Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and IEEE 802.3ad load sharing and recovery.

Sterling Perrin of IDC points out that the OSAP box sits in a unique space that straddles Ethernet and SONET services, and offers a benefit to incumbents who are looking to offer Ethernet while maintaining their investment in SONET. Despite the apparent benefits, Perrin warns that the proof is in the pudding.

"All products at this stage in this space are brand-new," he says. "Everything needs to get proven in customer networks right now. Appian's biggest challenge is overcoming the newness of its product."

The OSAP 4800 starts at US$25,000.

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