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Surfing the 'Net at gigabit speeds.

A fast-growing data-access center rides the wiring wave of the future.

Surf's up on the West Coast, and this time El Nino is not the cause. Simple Network Communications Inc., San Diego, Calif., created a highspeed wave by providing the region's best-connected Internet access center with gigabit technology for its customers' Web travel. Accentric, the company's Internet access division, offers round-the-clock, business-critical Internet services to businesses due to its recently installed gigabit-ready cabling infrastructure.

As the wave of gigabit technology has not even crested, many businesses want to be on top so that their wiring infrastructure will not have to be replaced and updated later. "Accentric is the first server hosting company in the area to take the plunge into gigabit technology," says Dan Peters, vice president of operations for Pacific ComTel, Escondido, Calif., installers for the cabling.

"San Diego is becoming `Silicon Valley South' largely due to the `Maquilladoras,' which are major OEM manufacturers that have situated plants on the border of Mexico. These companies need Internet access," says Peters. Accentric's co-location and hosting services allow companies to lease space to place their server(s) on the Accentric Internet backbone. Accentric also offers T-1 and DS-3 WAN access to the Internet for companies that need high-speed access directly from their offices. Due to this capability, no modems or dial-ups are required. T-1 lines allow 1.544 Mbps of throughput, and DS-3 lines access the 'Net at 45 Mbps speeds.

INSIDE/OUT INFRASTRUCTURE

Accentric's backbone infrastructure was designed on a concept called "inside/ out networking." Instead of accessing the Internet from one outside provider accessing its networks' points of presence (POP) and private peering, Accentric has brought the Internet backbones inside. "This way we can control the routing of traffic," says Robert Bingham, president and CEO of Simple Network. "This ultimately means that we can push data out faster, more effectively, and more reliably than many other providers. Accentric has contracted with several high-bandwidth national Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Sprint, UUnet, GTE, Verio, and GoodNet. "For each provider we have a full 45 Mbps connection, which means we have 225 Mbps of outbound capacity," says Mark Hopperton, vice president for Accentric. "As the need and capacity requirements grow, we will add more capacity by either adding another connection (ISP) to the 'Net or making the existing connections bigger, the next step being 155 Mbps."

To gain access to the upstream ISPs, Accentric required multiple Carrier Access Providers (CAPs) to bring connectivity into the access center. The carriers use fiber on full SONET-protected rings to support OC-3, OC-12, and eventually OC-48 data capacities. [With SONET, more than one fiber line (ring) creates redundancy and a back-up system for any outages from fiber cuts or other disconnectivity problems. When one fiber goes down, the system automatically diverts traffic to the other fiber.] "We need to take redundancy to its ultimate, so we have multiple CAPs (MFS, ICG, TCG, and Windstar) supplying the physical connections to the ISPs," says Mark Hopperton. Two of the fiber rings will actually run through the building on divergent paths, so there will be true SONET protection for the backbone. "Windstar is supplying a microwave link to its San Diego POP, so our bandwidth travels through the air and through the ground, which is about as redundant as you can get," says Mark Hopperton.

"We chose fiber for the backbone to allow for unlimited bandwidth expandability. For the internal horizontal cabling we went with an enhanced-frequency Category 5 solution. This allows us to take advantage of the high data speeds such as Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet, as well as ATM speeds of 155 or 622 Mbps and beyond," says Frank Hopperton, access center manager. "Without gigabit-ready wiring inside our access center, the full capabilities of the emerging high-speed, high-bandwidth networking protocols would be inaccessible."

A total of 150 racks will be located in the Accentric access center in the heart of the 22-story Home Savings Tower, a high-rise office complex in downtown San Diego. The access center provides the "real estate" and environmental infrastructure for a dedicated server product and co-location space that anyone can lease. The wiring infrastructure is designed to service as many servers or connections to the Internet as can be installed in 150 racks. The bandwidth potential is virtually unlimited. "The limit really is the physical space not the network," says Frank Hopperton.

GIGABIT SOLUTION

"When Accentric asked for a gigabit-speed system for future Web-hosting requirements, only one supplier came to mind--Ortronics," says Dan Peters. "Not only is Ortronics the first manufacturer to offer total gigabit solutions, it was also chosen for product availability, support, and warranty through Graybar."

"Ortronics is the only supplier to make us truly cyber ready for our accelerating server hosting and connectivity business," says Allen Cocumelli, COO and general counsel for Simple Network. Ortronics, Pawcatuck, Conn., a global leader in flexible network solutions for structured cabling systems, together with Graybar, a full-service, full-stocking distributor, provided Accentric with enhanced-frequency Category 5 cabling products for a gigabit-ready system.

Ortronics provided enhanced-frequency Category 5 patch panels to serve the 150 racks that connect the servers to the backbone utilizing 40,000 feet of CommScope Utra II enhanced-frequency Category 5 350 MHz horizontal cabling and patch cords. Between the patch panels on the racks, Ortronics provided finger duct cable management panels, allowing easy installation and moves. For horizontal cable routing, Ortronics vertical finger duct channels were installed between the racks. "With the Ortronics products and installation by an Ortronics certified installer, Pacific ComTel, this system is guaranteed for 25 years," says Scott Burke, Graybar sales representative, San Diego, Calif. "That's more than they'll ever need."

TANDEM INSTALLATION

While Accentric was installing this inside/out network, the main headquarters of Simple Network, which houses Accentric and other subsidiaries, was installing its in-house networking system in tandem with the access center build out. Located on the 13th floor in the Home Savings Tower, one-third of the space is dedicated to the data-access center infrastructure and network operations center. Simple Network selected an Ortronics end-to-end CAT 5 system. The cabling included 60,000 feet of CAT 5 from CommScope with 120 drops. "They (Simple Network) wanted to do it right the first time. In doing so, they put in more product than what they needed today but will have enough for later expansion," says Eric Seelig, Ortronics regional manager, Redondo Beach, Calif.

Ortronics CAT 5 TracJack outlets, and horizontal CAT 5 cabling was installed for voice and data to the desk. Universal wiring was chosen for the networking scheme. "With universal wiring, it doesn't matter what I am transporting because I've got connectivity for any CAT 5 protocol in our walls," says Mark Hopperton. "Right now we are running 10Base-T, 100Base-T, as well as phones."

The network operations center at Simple Network Communications and Accentric is protected by a state-of-the-art Inergen fire suppression system. To rid the room of fire, the system releases a mixture of compressed gases that replaces the oxygen in the room until the fire cannot burn.

For the internal office environment at the ICC (Intermediate Cross-Connect) are Ortronics CAT 5 patch panels and finger duct cable management panels. "Color-coded icons at the workstation correspond to each port in the patch panel at the ICC," says Mark Keyes, project manager, Pacific ComTel.

MISSION CRITICAL

"We built this center to get as close to six 9's (99.999999%) up time," says Mark Hopperton. To protect its investment and its customers' investment, the network operations center at Simple Network and Accentric is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) and ICMP (Internet Control Message Protocol) monitoring of the backbone, customers' equipment, and WAN connections. The area is protected by 60 tons of redundant air conditioning and a state-of-the-art Inergen fire suppression system. This system results in an oxygen content so low that fire cannot burn and equipment is not harmed. A redundant power system includes three 50 KVA Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) and a 450-kilowatt generator. "The generator supports the 800 amps of 480 volts that are coming into the access center main feed and can run for over 60 hours before refueling," says Frank Hopperton. "We have a lot at stake, and I had to methodically design the power/equipment room and access center to the inch to make sure that there is a backup for everything that could go wrong," he says. "After all, with 150 racks filled with many Web-hosting machines, we are certain that we will be handling more than the current one percent of all Internet traffic. We have to be prepared for the next wave."

Franchini is director of corporate communications and public relations and Everett is a freelance writer/editor for Ortronics, Pawcatuck, Conn.

Circle 261 for more information from Ortronics, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Nelson Publishing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Company Operations; Simple Network Communications' ISP Accentric
Author:Franchini, Arlene; Everett, Carol Shafer
Publication:Communications News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 1999
Words:1475
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