The Origin of Waystream

In October 2015 PacketFront Network Products was renamed Waystream. The company originated from the PacketFront company that was established in 2001.

The group of founders came from the Swedish company Bredbandsbolaget (now part of Telenor) where they pioneered large-scale deployment of Fiber To The Home (FTTH) broadband networks. With over 100,000 ports installed by early 2001, Bredbandsbolaget was one of the first major deployments of high-speed Internet services.

Despite the leading brand-name technology, several challenges still remained unsolved at Bredbandsbolaget. Missing features, poor stability and endurance of the enterprise-class access switches resulted in the all too recurring question:

"Is there no better way to do this?"
The answer was yes and that is Waystream today.

Within its first year, the first series of access switches (the ASR4000) and customer premises equipment (CPS200) with built in fiber media conversion and a provisioning system had been developed, tested, released and deployed in the field. In 2001, Open Access was a mere concept. PacketFront blazed the trail for "True Broadband Networks" with a revolutionary solution that provided "a broadband network in a box" for city networks and other green field initiatives that wanted to provide true freedom of choice to residential end-users and to increase competition among service providers in Sweden. This complete offering from PacketFront resolved many of the challenged that a new operator faced in the field of fiber access.

From the start, our innovation in access switches provided unique and market leading solutions including:

  • the fan-less access switch for fiber and copper deployments to allow installation in dirty areas with poor ventilation and dust that excluded the use of fan-equipped enterprise switches
  • the use of DHCP Remote ID and Circuit ID options to identify end-users and the creation of the first secure end-user solution with optimal IPv4 address usage in a routed layer3 topology
  • innovative forwarding algorithms enabling more and greater service flexibility in the ASR4000 than any other access switch

Even today, thousands of ASR4000s are still in service after a decade of use and still honor the original PacketFront pledge to deliver "The Future of Broadband".

The Evolution

The company continued to innovate. A new generation access switches (the ASR10000) was developed in cooperation with the US-based startup company Greenfield. Greenfields innovative ASICs provided a unique set of capabilities that promised to change service control over DSL networks. Then, Greenfield was acquired by another U.S based company that sought to use their technology for its own internal purposes, and this put an effective halt to the ASR10000 product line.

A series of acquisitions, rapid growth and world wide financial meltdown then brought PacketFront to the edge of disaster despite a profitable hardware business. The company continued to deliver innovative products and with a faithful customer base that strongly believed in the company and that saw the value of reduced operational costs and increased service flexibility a new generation of access switches (the ASR5000) was released.

The ASR5000, introduced in 2007, is a remarkable achievement. Based on the experience from the ASR4000, it became increasingly clear that better quality services through more advanced scheduling algorithms were needed to meet customer demands for service flexibility,. Something better than the typical enterprise-class switch-ASIC solution that was offered by all competing products.

The first network processor (NPU) access switch was born. Using an NPU, PacketFront develops its own forwarding code base where traffic is controlled, prioritized and forwarded unlike any other access switch on the market. Advanced forwarding algorithms give end-users a better Internet experience, allows deep packet inspection functionality that provides operators with quality feedback on IPTV, and offers  remote troubleshooting so that network engineers can find problems faster and at lower cost. This functionality was available to our customers years ahead of the competition. In fact, the ASR5000 from 2007 is still unmatched in many areas.

PacketFront established itself as a reputable brand in the FTTH business, well-known for its high quality and pre-integrated solution. However, a misconception in the market led to a widespread belief that PacketFront ASRs were proprietary hardware that was locked into the PacketFront provisioning system, BECS.This has never been the case. From the start, the ASR4000 was designed with an industry standard CLI and configuration language that can be configured manually or by common standard management protocols. Even BECS uses standard CLI commands to control the ASRs.

After the industry recession under the financial crisis after 2008, a new strategy for PacketFront was formed by its owners. The strengths of the individual PacketFront products would be emphasized and business units were allowed to break free from each other. The pioneers of Open Access would therefore open up also its own solution. The first step was to create separate companies for each business unit. During 2011 and early 2012, four separate companies were established. PacketFront Network Products AB was formally founded on April 1st 2012.

The Present

The bandwidth demand in the leading FTTH nations follows Nielsens Law, and increased competition between Cable-TV operators and FTTH networks in combination with more advanced services and HD-TV meant that the 100Mbit/s barrier of FastEthernet created a ceiling needed to be broken.

In February of 2012, the ASR6000 access switch was launched. Just like the ASR5000 the new generation ASR6000 includes an NPU and a feature set that is unmatched in the marketplace. The ASR6000 was an immediate success.

At the same time, the next major version of the iBOS operating system – the firmware that has been part of every ASR since 2001 – was also introduced. Adding support for IPv6 functionality the ASR6000 enables the next generation of Internet protocol to be deployed the way the Internet Architects intended – allowing every end-user their own address space in a safe and secure environment.

The ASR6000 also introduces more innovative features, such as the Service Template and RADIUS/DHCP based service control that creates an even smarter network – a network that is able to configure itself, further reducing costs for central provisioning and control systems and allowing operators to reuse technology and solutions commonly deployed for xDSL networks.

Then in October of 2012, a major milestone was achieved as PacketFront Network Products AB was acquired by the entrepreneurs of ShortCap together with the Management Team and employees of PacketFront Network Products AB.

Strengthened by our independence the company set out to broaden our scope. Based on customer input and technichal opportunities the development of a new generation Edge Routers commenced. Revealed on the market the MPC480 represents something completely new. A cost effective high performance Edge Router not only for residential broadband but also ready to serve other tasks in the converging network.


The Future

In October 2015 the company was renamed Waystream and now it embarks on a journey to truly unleash the potential of our innovative and technology leading access products, Waystream is already fast at work innovating the next generation networks.

We are a profitable company that is focused entirely on supplying network equipment and investing in new and exciting products to reduce operational costs and drive flexibility into the world of FTTH, always with the end user perspective in mind.

The owners of Waystream are dedicated to evolving the business and growing the company, leveraging the innovative capabilities of our NPU based platforms and the iBOS operating system.

Join us, as the future unfolds!