Alcatel-Lucent is to assist BT customers who have begun migrating from the company's legacy telephone network to the IP-based 21st century network.

The company will help BT in ensuring that its 21CN Migration Control Centre (MCC) is operational and ready to meet the challenges of migrating 20 million customers over to the new all-IP network.

Additionally, Alcatel-Lucent has been selected to develop a workflow tool that will track the upgrade process. This system offers a web-based interface that will monitor the migration activity process and will identify and automatically escalate any issues raised.

This intuitive learning capability is integrated into the architecture as it moves forward, enabling BT to gain significant network efficiencies as the volume of site migrations increase.

Other suppliers involved in the project include Cisco, Fujitsu and Huawei Technologies.

At the core of the network, BT chose dominant router vendor Cisco Systems and also Lucent Technologies, which will deliver Juniper Networks routing systems and Lucent's own element management systems.

Cisco's proposal to BT was based on its Carrier Routing System-1, a massive platform that can route as much as 92T bps (bits per second) using multiple interconnected racks of interfaces.

Lucent will supply Juniper's M320 and T640 routers as well as the TX Matrix system that can interconnect multiple T640s.

Metropolitan nodes, which will provide routing and signalling for services provided on the network, will be supplied by France's Alcatel and Germany's Siemens as well as Cisco, BT said.

At the edges of the network, 21CN will hook up with BT's existing access network through multiservice access nodes that initially will carry data and voice services. Japan's Fujitsu and China's Huawei Technologies are the preferred suppliers of that gear.

Huawei also was named a preferred supplier in the transmission portion of the project, supplying optical electronics that will convert electronic signals into light waves for transmission between metro and core nodes.

The 21CN rollout is expected to be completed by 2009, when 99.6 percent of BT's customers will have access to the new infrastructure.