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November 1, 1999
Savvis Debuts Global Network for VPNs
By Charlotte Wolter
Savvis Communications Corp., St. Louis, has combined its 18-city U.S. network with the
global offering of its parent firm, Bridge Information Systems, to create an 87-city
global (Internet protocol [IP]/asynchronous transfer model [ATM]) network. The network
will be operated by the Savvis business unit of the company.
The announcement is the culmination of six months’ work to merge the two companies’
networks following Bridge’s acquisition of Savvis in April 1999.
Among the plans for the expanded network are managed or turnkey virtual private
networks (VPNs), managed data and dedicated Internet access for large multinational firms,
all with multiple levels of quality of service (QoS).
The network uses an ATM and frame relay backbone, and the company now can offer voice
over IP (VoIP) services by mapping IP voice to ATM, guaranteeing QoS.
Rick Bubenik, chief technology officer of Savvis, says the network offers a wide
international footprint and reliable QoS. It also features Savvis’ own approach to
connecting to the Internet, avoiding the metropolitan area exchanges (MAEs) and using its
eight private network access points to link to major Internet providers.
The merger of the networks was made easier by the fact that the two companies were
using the same network equipment: Ascend 500 ATM switches and 9000 frame relay switches.
Bubenik says Savvis is "actively looking" at VoIP using multiprotocol
label-switching (MPLS), but he believes the technology "still has a lot to overcome.
Today, ATM is the way to go to get guaranteed availability." He points out that a
huge amount of ATM infrastructure is under construction, and the capability soon will be
"so abundant that the overhead will not be an issue. So it’s not clear if ATM or IP
To move its VPN services to the next level of capability, Savvis is considering the new
"services-switch" products from various providers. These products offer
security, firewalls, virtual routing and the ability to migrate from legacy networks, such
as frame relay, to IP. "These products will be available by early second-quarter
2000. We could do IP over ATM or frame relay on this equipment," Bubenik says.
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