Level 3 Finally Pulls Its MPLS Together

September 10th, 2008 by · 4 Comments

After what seemed like ages, Level 3 today announced that it has finally consolidated its many data services onto a best of breed MPLS platform.  There was a time, all of Q4/07 actually, when the company stopped selling ethernet private line entirely because they couldn’t provision it at all, let alone slowly.  When they started the integration, most of these services were cutting edge.  Now, it seems like everyone has them, even XO has largely caught up.

For the sake of history, here is what each acquisition brought to the table:

  • Wiltel built a nice suite of ethernet products just before selling out.  Their managed EWAN service went all the way to the customer premises using boxes from Overture, and supported both ethernet private line and multipoint ethernet.  At the time, the service was just getting started but got rave reviews.
  • Broadwing also built out a cool new ethernet/MPLS service before selling out.  Theirs was based on Tellabs boxes and supported both layer 2 VPLS and layer 3 VPNs.  They expanded via partnerships with Hutchison Global, OnFiber, and even Global Crossing.  Once again, the service got great reviews, but had just gotten started.
  • Level 3 had been dabbling in MPLS based ethernet since the Martini draft was the order of the day and they were using Laurel boxes (how’s that for a blast from the past).  Nothing had really caught on though except for their network based IPVPN.

The other smaller acquisitions also had some VPN and ethernet stuff, but those were the main ones.  At the time I thought it would be great to put them together.  But apparently putting them together resulted in spaghetti, at least it sure turned out harder than expected.  I hope they really have worked out the kinks, because the combination plus the network reach really should be powerful but while they have been stalled by the side of the road some other networks have been passing by.

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