Verizon Business enhances MPLS VPN

Verizon has enhanced the service-level agreements of its Layer 3 MPLS VPN service

Verizon Business this week said it broadened coverage and enhanced the service-level agreements of its Layer 3 MPLS VPN service.

In addition, Verizon Business said it improved the reporting capabilities and added a sixth class of service to its Private IP VPN.

Private IP is Verizon Business' flagship service and provides the foundation for most of the carrier's strategic offerings, including VoIP, managed network services, security services, conferencing and hosted network applications. Private IP revenue doubled in 2006 from 20905, Verizon Business says, and customer VPNs and ports have increased 49 percent and 64 percent, respectively, over the past 12 months.

Such growth naturally prompts Verizon Business to grow the product's capabilities. The carrier has expanded Private IP coverage to include 121 countries and territories.

Recent node installations include Malaysia, Thailand, Slovakia, the Russian Federation, Turkey, South Africa, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Slovenia. In countries that already have Private IP, new nodes were installed in Barcelona, Spain; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Calgary, Alberta; and the Australian cities of Perth, Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide.

Improved SLAs include an enhanced Time to Repair SLA for all Private IP customers. Verizon Business now bases this SLA on the time taken to resolve each individual trouble ticket rather than the average time to resolve all tickets during the month.

Also, the carrier's network transit delay SLA now uses city-to-city based latency metrics instead of the previous country averages for all non-U.S. locations. A new 100 percent Site Availability-Dual Port SLA is offered for customers that utilize the Disaster Recovery Port feature with Router Diversity and redundant local access. And customers providing their own local access are eligible for certain Verizon Business service-level standards instead of being excluded from the SLA.

The new reporting capabilities, meanwhile, are intended to provide Private IP customers with more control and greater visibility into network performance. The reporting enhancements include increased customization of network and application performance reporting tools, and extended international availability.

All Private IP customers now have the ability to generate customized ad hoc reports, save them as templates and schedule these reports to run automatically, Verizon Business says. Network managers also have the ability to group network points of interest for customized reporting and monitoring, and a new systems test feature is available to check polling success rates, which enables customers to confirm that their router is properly set up for SNMP polling.

The sixth class of service (CoS) is intended to enable more granular prioritization of business critical data. The new CoS is for general data -- a rung above non-critical e-mail, file transfers and Web browsing, and a rung below transactional data.

All of the new features are included in Verizon Business' standard Private IP offering except the enhanced reporting capabilities, which cost $15 per month per site.

On the competitive front, AT&T just disclosed that it plans to double its IP network spending this year to expand its MPLS network to 155 countries and offer six classes of service on its IP VPN service offerings around the world by year-end. Today the carrier offers four CoS options.

Sprint plans to spend US$600 million this year on its long-distance networks, which primarily include its IP and MPLS networks. That figure is US$200 million less than Sprint spent in 2006 on the same networks.

About a year ago, Sprint began offering end-to-end SLAs for its MPLS VPN service instead of network average guarantees from provider edge to provider edge. At that time, Sprint also said it planned to expand its MPLS VPN coverage to 163 countries by the end of 2006 from 115 countries.

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