Tenor Helps Enterprises Control Bandwidth

SAN MATEO (05/21/2000) - With the aim of leveraging optical network capacity to enable differentiated services, Tenor Networks Inc. this week will announce an element-management software platform that allows service providers to customize services for their enterprise-level customers.

The company's strategy is based on the belief that breakthroughs in optical networking mean little without the means of controlling how that bandwidth is being used.

Tenor Element Management Platform (TEMPo) is a software platform that sits above the network infrastructure. It includes a GUI that allows service providers to define and provision services and also monitor their service levels and customers' billing status. Data is collected and formatted for billing, monitoring, and reporting activities, according to Tenor officials.

One advantage with TEMPo is that it allows the service provider to let its enterprise customers log on to see their account, monitoring how much bandwidth they are using and at what times, said Andy McCormick, senior analyst for optical communications at Aberdeen Group, in Boston. TEMPo also lets enterprises order services on the fly, he said.

Bandwidth-shaping tools such as TEMPo can help end-users pay for only what they use, McCormick said.

"[TEMPo] will let enterprises match bandwidth utilization with their needs much better [than they can at present]. It can mean more efficient use from an [enterprise] standpoint because they are not going to be paying for service they aren't using. Now, if you buy a T3 or OC3, you pay for that the whole month whether you use it or not. This will let enterprises tailor bandwidth usage to [their] needs," McCormick said.

The capability of tailoring bandwidth to demand is already provided by other players, including Appian and Astral Point. Analysts say element management is a necessary complement to optical transport breakthroughs.

"This product will allow real-time provisioning of all these new optical-based services. Service providers are not just looking for the great transport technology but [also] the ability to manage it," McCormick said.

Another benefit of element management tools is that they can be used to make SLAs (service-level agreements) more enforceable.

"How effective are SLA's today? This whole ASP [application service provider] market doesn't fly unless we have 100 percent network availability. This [product] is the beginning of the tools we will need to guarantee service levels," said Deb Mielke, principal analyst at Treillage Network Strategies, in Dallas.

"TEMPo will let [enterprises] monitor their SLA in real time," McCormick said.

"If a provider is guaranteeing 99 percent uptime, [enterprises] can see that."

TEMPo will enter beta trials this summer and will be priced at $95,000 for 20 concurrent users.

Tenor Networks Inc., in Acton, Massachusetts, is at www.tenor.com.

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