See correction below
Brad Kummer spent 25 years at Bell Labs doing R&D on optical-fiber-based systems, and then in 2000 he was lured to ISP Cogent Communications for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to design an all-optical, data-only network. He built an 80Gb backbone that spans almost 20,000 miles and 21 cities in North America. Reputedly offering 65 times the bandwidth of a T1 connection at the same price, Kummer’s backbone supports Radio Free Virgin's streaming audio, Weather Underground's real-time weather data, and two major stock exchanges among others.
But this CTO and vice president of optical transport stands for simplicity above all else. “Of the new products offered in telecom,” Kummer says, “95 percent have too many features, features that I don’t need or want and only increase the cost and complexity of the network.”
In this article, we originally misreported the bandwidth of Cogent Communications' backbone.