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ADTRAN Interoperability with Cisco

ADTRAN's headquarters is located in the beautiful Cummings Research Park in Huntsville, Alabama and all the folks there, including the ones no one caught me speaking with, are friendly individuals extending good ole' southern hospitality that warms the soul. Here's a glimpse of what I found going on at ADTRAN as we toured the facilities. (In the picture after the jump, note the Davidson Center for Space Exploration in the background--space Camp is on my next training schedule.)What caught my attention as we toured the ADTRAN facility was the number of other vendor products including Cisco's big stuff (core routers), and ADTRAN folks made no excuses, and stated they "conduct extensive interoperability testing with Cisco and many other vendors' products." For me personally, a lingering comment that a No Jitter reader posted previously struck home hard, about whether or not you can trust today's employees in making any analyses about equipment and services and whether or not folks are just making "branded decisions," meaning they are just buying into the brand to be safe. The reader I think is right.

ADTRAN stated that competitors and customers know ADTRAN makes quality gear that works just as well or better than the competitors and at a significantly lesser cost to own and maintain. Why wouldn't you integrate ADTRAN's gear into your closets and networks? Maybe management out there is asleep, but in an economy such as this one, when folks are looking for advantages--HELLO!

Then there is the lab at ADTRAN. Did I say lab? This place is geek heaven. I didn't want to leave but I know that would probably have made my host uncomfortable. Lab is an understatement. The big lab we toured was under constant hammering of voice, data and video traffic as all their Netvanta products (hundreds) take constant pounding (months). In another lab was the "wall of phones." I asked the ADTRAN fella- "before we came up here, did you all have the lights off?" My sense of humor isn't always understood and he replied, "No sir, the lights were on." The walls of phones were under constant testing with traffic too, and I was a little tempted to turn the lights off, just for a minute, to see them glow. Their IP phones are snazzy looking. (I don't/won't sell UGLY phones) We also observed a proliferation of traffic generators, microscopes, Agilent gear, cameras using infrared analyses and test beds including their environmental test shelters. We spent time touring and seeing the process in other labs where gear is literally stressed, hammered with traffic for months, then cooked and made to fail on purpose. So to say ADTRAN has a lab wouldn't be anything close.

Substantiating what an end user customer said in my previous post about Why ADTRAN--"It just works"--this tour erased any doubts that I had about these factory guys that I had never previously met. You see, the other ADTRAN customers giving presentions also stated the same things, and that they too had blended ADTRAN's gear in their Cisco powered networks and enjoyed cost benefits while experiencing ease of installation.

Okay, one more time, I don't get why you pay more up front and pay more on the backend, when you can pay a lot less up front and not pay anything on the backend and accomplish the same thing. ADTRAN's customers do understand, I understand, but as the reader posted, there's seemingly a lack of analyses. Then the "ah-ha" moment after seeing the facilities and pondering over past and present experiences was my true appreciation for knowing "why" ADTRAN gear just works. I also stated in my previous post Why ADTRAN that we've realized a gain by offering our customers ADTRAN products over several years.

So, in contrast to the reader's concern--and I did do my analysis--first, of course ADTRAN is a safe choice for me, only I'm not paying a premium price for the top performance that my customers need. Someone must be thinking about value, and perhaps some folks need to review their internal processes and buying decisions a little closer.