Verizon lab to demo the greener side of telecom

New facility targets solutions for green buildings, greater efficiency

Verizon Business has set up a new million-dollar lab in the Washington area to show off its next-generation passive optical network to federal agencies looking for greener and more cost-effective telecommunications networks.

The 1,200-square-foot facility in Columbia, Md., was built to show feds the capabilities of the company’s fully converged — carrying voice, data and video on a single fiber — Optical Local-Area Network Solution (OLS), said Susan Zeleniak, president of Verizon Federal Business.

OLS is “the next phase in how to wire a building to make it more efficient, more green and more highly capable in delivering technology and capacity,” she said.

Power consumption is trimmed through use of passive optical network (PON) technology, which can travel up to 12 miles between data center and users with no need for regeneration of power.

As compared with a traditional switch-based Ethernet solution serving 1,000 users, a Verizon OLS serving 1,000 users can cut power consumption by up to 75 percent, space requirements by up to 80 percent and capital costs related to network elements by as much as 74 percent, the company said.

Capacity is increased through use of single-mode fiber. Typically, multimode fiber runs from the data center to a building, where it then connects to copper wire distributed inside the building.

By running a single strand of single-mode fiber from the data center to the desktop, the OLS network can deliver Gigabit Ethernet service to every user.

Such high bandwidth enables the sharing of large files such as computer-aided design drawings, imaging and streaming video.

“It’s fabulous for medical applications, for example,” Zeleniak said. “For those agencies like the Social Security Administration or the Health and Human Services Department, which are transferring medical records as part of requests, it’s a great way to move data instead of in [paper] folders.”

Services underlying the Gigabit PON architecture theoretically can expand to 25 THz in bandwidth. But without further technology advances, such dizzying speeds will remain theoretical, experts said.

As it is, the new technology offers improvement in service to the citizen, by helping agencies respond more quickly to requests and claims, Zeleniak said. The company is in talks with the GSA about the agency’s new building infrastructure upgrade initiative, she said.

“GSA has provided traditional switched voice local service to customers across all the regions for a long time,” said Karl Krumbholz, director of network services for GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. “But we’re getting out of the business of managing [private branch exchanges].”

GSA is asking carriers on its Networx Enterprise contract to price a voice-over-IP solution infrastructure upgrade for a building.

“Our solution could be part of the bigger infrastructure solution,” Zeleniak said. Additionally, “we’ve talked with other companies that GSA may be working with to show them this capability so it could be incorporated into their solutions,” she said.

Although existing copper must be pulled, the new single-mode fiber is easy to implement and can use existing routes, she said.

Networx pricing is based on “some general parameters,” Krumbholz said. Negotiated prices for specific installations likely will be cheaper, he said.

About the Author

Sami Lais is a special contributor to Washington Technology.

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