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Ciena Hints at Big Product Announcement

Dan O'Shea

Optical specialist Ciena appears to be planning an imminent, major product announcement on the theme of packet optical convergence.

At least one analyst is speculating that the product is an Ethernet/MPLS switch that will extend Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) further into competition with the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR). Ciena declined to comment, but on the company’s quarterly earnings call Thursday officials did generally touch on the topic of future product announcements and packet optical convergence in the metro environment. (See Ciena Reports Growth in Fiscal Q2 and Ciena Soars on Strong Demand.)

First Ciena CEO Gary Smith said on the call, “In the second half, we will be introducing new application software and an entirely new product platform targeting opportunities that expand our addressable market in a way that makes strategic sense for both Ciena and our customers.”

Later, in the process of answering a question, Tom Mock, senior vice president of corporate communications at Ciena, reiterated statements made by Ciena earlier this year suggesting the metro 100G market is already hopping. (See Ciena Fans 100G Metro Flames.)

Mock then added:

    But probably a more important point that we are seeing in the metro space is the fact that as you get closer to the end-user, you have to be more involved with service deliveries. So, the capability of those boxes is becoming more diverse that you end up with a greater need for OPn switching and greater need for packet switching. Gary alluded to a platform that you’re going to see coming out from us in the latter part of the year, and that’s really a lot more type of the integrating packet and optical together, and being able to deliver that packet capability closer to the end user.

Those comments were followed today by speculation from Michael Genovese, managing director at MKM Partners , on the nature of the coming product. Genovese stated in a research note, “On yesterday's call, management referenced a new product announcement that is expected imminently. We suspect this is a high-capacity Ethernet/MPLS switch slated to become more competitive with the Layer 2 capabilities on the Juniper PTX and Cisco NCS systems.”

Such a product move would come as Ciena has recently acknowledged the progress toward the convergence of IP and optical. In February, Ciena and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) announced a partnership aimed at tackling that convergence. Ciena also has been busy talking about the increasingly active metro 100G market and has been gradually increasingly the software and programmable capabilities of its platforms to be better positioned for the SDN era. (See Ericsson's Ciena Tieup: It's a Migration Thing, IPoDWDM the Star of Ericsson-Ciena Show, and OFC: Ciena Smartens Up Photonic Layer.)

— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Blogger
6/9/2014 | 2:20:39 PM
Re: It's like a jungle sometimes...
I really wish you had posted that as a video comment... or audio would have been worth it, too.

The last year or so has been very interesting for Ciena, as it gradually has been shaking off the reputation of being only an optical hardware specialist, and I think this move could be the next step in that evolution.
User Rank: Blogger
6/9/2014 | 6:16:59 AM
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