– BusinessWeek, June 21, 1999
Working with Bill Peatman, marketing communications manager, we produced a collateral piece emphasizing the evolutionary nature of optical transport using the Cerent 454. The four-page spread emphasized that Cerent’s revolution enabled customers to evolve their optical transport network without having to change how they managed and operated it. Cerent’s “Simple, Fast, and Easy” solution made this possible for them, especially by upending SONET economics.
I recall that we highlighted how the established SONET competitors had made no major changes to SONET equipment for use in metropolitan networks over the previous ten years (from 1988 to 1998). Cerent introduced significant changes into this market segment with integrated ASIC technology, reduced packaging, and ease of use that made the Cerent 454 one of the fastest-selling optical transport products in history.
Those early customers who were delighted with the Cerent 454 value proposition and who also agreed to be featured in our advertorial included:
- Williams Communications of Tulsa, Oklahoma (National Carrier)
- Advanced Telcom Group of Santa Rosa, California (CLEC)
- SHO-ME Power of Marshfield, Missouri (Utility Operator)
- Galaxy Cablevision of Sikeston, Missouri (Cable Operator)
Why did they and others make the change from legacy SONET gear to the Cerent 454?
Traffic had shifted from predominantly voice to predominantly data, driven by the rise and acceptance of the Internet. More computers were communicating than people and for ever-increasing periods of time. To address this demand in 1999, service providers spent some $8 billion worth of SONET gear in the U.S. alone. With Cerent’s solution costing less than half of what competitors charged for like OC-48 configurations, serious consideration was given to the improved economics that Cerent brought to the capital expenditure ‘table.’
What did Cerent do that was so powerful?
The privately-held company eliminated the following obstacles to deploying traditional SONET:
- Rigid, bit-rate specific and single service-oriented
- Difficult to purchase, install, and maintain
- Slow or unable to accommodate data services needed to compete
- Did not scale to accommodate increased capacity needs
Old SONET worked okay, but it was no longer flexible in a world where networking customers wanted their voice service as well as the new data services. Combined multi-service and multi-bit-rate products were needed.
That’s when Cerent’s engineers, in 1997, stepped up to the plate to begin the development of a solution that would “Supercharge SONET.” And they did just that. As we wrote in the advertorial, “. . . they decided to lead a SONET revolution that would enable carriers to revitalize their existing networks and evolve them into the optical networking future.” The Cerent 454 helped customers hit home runs.
The rest is history. SONET became Supercharged SONET (Multi-service Provisioning Platforms or MSPPs) during the 2000s, which, in turn, became Packet Optical Transport Systems of the 2010s.
Cerent pioneered one of the most rapid evolutions of the optical transport sector in history, and Supercomm ’99 formally introduced the Cerent 454 to the world.
Thank you, Bill Peatman and the Cerent marketing team!