RSVP to CICNet: update on Sprint
George H. Clapp
clapp at ameris.ameritech.com
Tue Nov 1 01:06:10 UTC 1994
FYI, Sprint recently released an announcement (attached below)
concerning its testing of ATM and SONET. Also, Pacific Bell has
been providing ATM service to a number of customers for several months.
Any carrier that is not deploying ATM, or at least seriously
investigating it, is taking a large risk when it attempts to
compete for customers with multi-service requirements.
email: clapp at ameris.ameritech.com
Sprint unveils multimedia Test Track in Silicon Valley
BURLINGAME, Calif,--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 18, 1994--With all the
hype surrounding the Information Superhighway, Sprint thinks it's
time to lend some substance to the concept.
The company Tuesday unveiled a privately funded "proving ground"
for advanced computer hardware and software development that
features some of the nation's leading information technology
companies as participants.
The Silicon Valley Test Track, a fiber-optic ring traversing
Silicon Valley from San Francisco to San Jose, is being used to
explore broadband multimedia applications evolving from the
convergence of telecommunications and computer technologies.
In addition to Sprint, other companies participating in the Test
Track include Digital Equipment Corp., Hewlett-Packard, Silicon
Graphics, Sun Microsystems, Tandem Computers Inc. and Xerox Palo
Alto Research Center, also known as PARC. In addition, educational
institutions, including Stanford University; California Polytechnic
State University, San Luis Obispo; and the Laguna Salada Union
School District in Pacifica, Calif., are participating.
The Test Track, which covers some 150 miles, is based on
industry standards that will define the "super" in the Information
Superhighway -- SONET and ATM. SONET, short for synchronous optical
network, improves the transport performance and survivability of
fiber-optic networks. ATM refers to asynchronous transfer mode, a
new broadband switching technology that can accommodate any switching
protocol at any speed, paving the way for voice, data and video
signals to move at extremely high speeds.
"There is far too much hype about the information superhighway,
and not enough substance," said Marty Kaplan, Sprint's vice
president for network design and engineering. "It's not a matter of
500 channels of TV in your home or being able to play `Doom' with
somebody in China. It's about a whole new family of multimedia
services that will change society profoundly."
Kaplan cited two examples of applications already in early
stages of development -- distance learning and telemedicine.
Distance learning will make the best teachers and lesson material
available to classrooms nationwide, live or from digital "video
jukebox" servers. The same technology applied to medical practice
will enable physicians to participate in diagnoses and to treat
patients from thousands of miles away.
"The Silicon Valley Test Track is a real world, live network
that allows serious development and proof-of-concept work by all the
companies involved," Kaplan added.
"These companies are developing hardware and software for
multimedia applications well beyond what is commercially available
Terry Kero, director of Sprint's Advanced Technology
Laboratories, explained that Sprint's "no holds barred" approach on
the Silicon Valley Test Track offers real flexibility and options to
"We can change the rules for a given experiment, then change
them back again to fully understand what we are seeing," he said.
"You can't do that on a network carrying commercial traffic. The
Test Track gives us a big field to play on, as compared to any one
company working within the confines of a single laboratory."
This arrangement offers advantages to Sprint and the
participating companies, Kero said.
"From our perspective, it does no good to have a network without
traffic running on it," he said. "The participating companies give
us that traffic, and we provide a facility they would have to pay
millions to duplicate."
Sprint has used the Test Track to evaluate SONET and ATM
equipment now being deployed throughout its network. Initial
development of the Test Track began last year when two companies
were connected. The balance were connected this year.
Participating companies can work alone or with each other on
joint projects. With a waiting list of more than 20 companies, Kero
expects the number of companies on the Test Track to increase in
Projects for participating companies include:
-- Digital Equipment Corp. -- ATM switching using Digital's AN2
switching equipment, and a telecollaboration experiment with other
manufacturers that employs desktop videoconferencing.
-- Hewlett-Packard -- ATM switching in a distributed desktop
video teleconferencing environment. Hewlett-Packard already has
demonstrated elements of this in a collaborative effort with Xerox
PARC. The Test Track is the cornerstone of building an ATM
infrastructure at HP Labs in Palo Alto, Calif.
-- Silicon Graphics -- Broadband network management, ATM
switching, and real-time collaborative development of animation,
graphics, film and video over broadband; and intelligent networks
for industries, including entertainment and advertising.
-- Sprint -- Broadband network management with ATM switching
over SONET rings, electronic provisioning, bandwidth-on-demand and
distance learning using video server and set-top technology that
converts digital transmission to analog television signals.
-- Sun Microsystems -- Broadband network management, including
security, capacity, billing, performance prediction and new ATM
protocols. Sun also is developing a "digital money" system for
managing telecommunications budgets that includes auctioning and
bidding among employees for available bandwidth applications
including distance learning, dynamic bandwidth allocation and
-- Tandem -- Broadband network management, including security,
capacity and performance. Tandem also will connect engineering and
manufacturing centers as the test track becomes the hub of Tandem's
Bay Area ATM infrastructure.
-- Xerox PARC -- Signaling trials, demonstration of remote
access to video and document file storage, distributed scanning and
printing applications, test of authenticated signaling, ATM quality
of service demonstrations, and inter-operation of a PARC-developed
local area ATM switch called "BADLAN" with switches provided by
Sprint and other participants.
Sprint's Burlingame laboratory is the focal point for the Test
Track. The lab's multi-vendor testing philosophy helps Sprint stay
aware of the directions new technologies are taking, which vendors
are producing the best equipment, and how to make equipment from
diverse sources work together.
For example, companies participating on the Test Track have
access, through Sprint's lab, to ATM switches made by eight separate
vendors, as well as SONET terminals from five manufacturers.
"As networks and computers become homogeneous entities,
interoperability becomes crucial to a company's survival," Kaplan
said. "The leading information technology companies are placing
increased emphasis on networking capabilities."
The Burlingame lab has led the way for Sprint's successful
introductions of technologies and services, including Signaling
System 7, integrated services digital networks, speech recognition,
intelligent network features, international network architectures,
integrated messaging, broadband, ATM, SONET and SONET's
international version, known as Synchronous Digital Hierarchy.
Sprint is a diversified international telecommunication company
with more than $11 billion in annual revenues and the United States'
only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network. Its divisions
provide global voice, data and video products and services; local
telephone services to more than 6.3 million subscribers in 19
states; and cellular services to 42 major metropolitan markets and
more than 50 rural service areas.
Jim Bowman, 913/967-3675
Torme & Kenney
Diane LeGrand Hail, 415/956-1791
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