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AboveNet Communications: Above, but not beyond

AboveNet Communications promises to help with your organization's bandwidth problems. Mark Kaelin reviews the company's Web site and points out both nice touches and missing links.

More bandwidth—that’s what enterprise network administrators pray for every night before they get their four hours of pager-interrupted sleep. For large organizations with global networks, lack of bandwidth can be a major bottleneck for an otherwise top-notch high-throughput system. In some parts of the world, network communications is often a compromise between having the fastest connection and staying within your IT budget. Offering to help with this global networking problem is AboveNet Communications and its One-hop Global network.

Using peering relationships with various strategic partners, the One-hop Global network is a large aggregated bandwidth system that allows one-hop access to an Internet backbone. AboveNet also offers a service it calls the Internet Service Exchange Strategy (ISX), which is essentially a server farm with access to an Internet backbone. ISX brings together ISPs and content providers in a centralized facility with access to the One-hop Global network. These facilities are located in San Jose, CA, Vienna, VA, and New York.

The AboveNet Web site is simple and concise, and it effectively uses graphics in the form of maps showing network nodes and backbone access points. There is thorough information about the company’s executives and their backgrounds, along with links to company financial information as filed with the SEC. A QuickTime tour through AboveNet’s ISX facilities is available, which is a fine touch. Overall, it is a very nice Web site. However, I did discover several broken links and several pages that had not been updated recently. For example, AboveNet offers a link that will show network traffic on its routers. This is supposed to give a potential customer a feel for how much bandwidth capacity they can provide. It is a good idea. Unfortunately, the results of the standard network diagnostic have not been updated for almost a year.

Bandwidth is a vital commodity, one that all global networks could use more of in this dynamic business environment. AboveNet seems to be providing a service that addresses this vital need. But the lack of basic maintenance on its site worries me. When combined with a look at its financial information and the recent decline of its stock price, I have to wonder about the company’s future. This is another reason all companies should spend just a little more energy on their Internet presence. Web sites make first impressions—and first impressions often make or break a potential sale.

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About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

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