Bank of America's Big Technology Boost

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Bank of America has officially hit the 21st Century with a contract announced Wednesday by Sprint officials.

The 10-year deal basically revamps the financial organization's entire network, which until today ran on OC-3 network pipes throughout its banking subsidiaries located throughout the U.S.

According to David Gunasegaram, a Sprint spokesperson, the deal is more than just a typical network upgrade.

"This is a brand new network they're buying into," he said.

Bank of America is leasing 27 OC-48 lines throughout the U.S. and colocating at Sprint's 13 data centers, which means the company will be able to put in equipment (i.e., servers) that boost customer services to its 28 million customers.

The boost from OC-3 to OC-48 is big one, in terms of network speed an capacity. Gunasegaram said an OC-3 can handle 2,016 simultaneous analog phone calls; an OC-48 transfers 32,256 simultaneous phone calls.

The company has more than 4,400 banking center, call centers and data-processing facilities throughout the country, as well as 12,000 ATMs. While officials will certainly expand its services as a result of such a big network upgrade, they've already got immediate plans to provide color and sound to its ATMs.

"Our commitment to continually offer our customers the most innovative products and services to meet all of their financial needs -- like talking ATMs and digital check imaging -- places larger demands on our communications network," said Don Obert, Bank of America technology services executive, in a statement today.

Sprint uses dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) optical technology to boost the performance of its nationwide network. Called "lightwave services" by its executives, the technology enhanced by Sprint's Advanced Technology Laboratories technicians can give OC-48 networks speeds around 400 Gb/s.

DWDM has become a popular fiber-optic technology among carriers in recent years. It is protocol and bit-rate independent, so carrier's can sell to companies who use any number of network architectures, whether it's IP, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), synchronous optical network (SONET) or Ethernet.

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