Nortel and Siemens win PBT contracts with BT

Nortel and Siemens have become the latest vendor to supply Ethernet kit to BT for the telco's 21CN network.

The Canadian networking company will be supplying its carrier-grade Ethernet Routing Switch 8600 and Metro Ethernet Services Unit 1850 for the Ethernet component of the telco. The telco will also deploy Siemens' SURPASS hiD Ethernet carrier switches, element management, system integration and support services. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

BT will use the Ethernet products to transport high-bandwidth services from mission critical business applications to full-streaming video and hopes to simplify management of its networks with the switches as well as making a few cost savings.

The switches will use PBB-TE (Provider Backbone Bridging Traffic Engineering), which is an emerging IEEE standard that incorporates a set of enhancements to Ethernet known as Provider Backbone Transport (PBT) that allows the use of Ethernet for a carrier class transport network.

The technology promises to bring control to data paths within very large carrier networks, enabling true quality of service, meaningful service level agreements and the ability to set aside specific paths for communications, increasing network performance while providing carrier-grade resiliency.

"BT is using Ethernet technology in a completely new way to provide an answer to the challenge of simplifying network management, redefining service quality and reducing costs," said Mike Zafirovski, president and chief executive officer, Nortel.

BT said is has been expecting to roll-out the technology for some time.

"We have been anticipating the widespread deployment of Ethernet in our 21CN architecture for a while but have been waiting for development to help make the technology viable for deployment in carrier grade networks," said Matt Beal, director for 21CN at BT Wholesale. "The implementation of Ethernet also complements fully BT's well established MPLS strategy within 21CN,"

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.