Marconi to 'Streamline' Access

Marconi is shuffling its deck of access networking products. Here's news on what goes, what stays

March 7, 2002

2 Min Read
Marconi to 'Streamline' Access

Marconi PLC (Nasdaq/London: MONI) is undergoing a massive overhaul and reevaluation of its access product line, the company confirmed today.

"We are categorically not closing our access division," says spokesman Joe Kelly. "But we are streamlining our access portfolio."

Kelly is careful to emphasize that any layoffs associated with the revamping of Marconi's access division will be within the 4,000 job reductions Marconi estimated in its January guidance (see Marconi To Lay Off Another 4,000).

So what stays, what goes? Here's a rundown:

  • What goes:

    Deep Fiber PON (passive optical networking) gear for fiber to the home (FTTH) will be discontinued, Marconi says.

  • What stays:

    Deep Fiber DMP (Distributed Multiservice Platform), a system that links leased lines, xDSL, and other access connections to Sonet (Synchronous Optical NETwork) and SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) links in metro areas, will stay.Marconi's Access Hub, an Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)-based edge switch supporting a range of access technologies, is also staying.

  • What's being reconsidered:

    Marconi's WipLL (Wireless IP Local Loop), a radio transmission product, is being reevaluated with an eye to possibly partnering with a third party to market and develop it.Marconi's MDMS (Marconi Digital Multipoint System) and point-to-point MDRS (Marconi Digital Radio System) will be "refocused" strictly toward providers of 3G wireless feeder networks. These products are presently being aimed at the market in Germany, Marconi says.

None of the above news will affect existing customers, which will continue to be supported by Marconi, insists Kelly. Still, it's bound to poke a hole in some of the ongoing PON trials Marconi's been engaged in (see Fiber to Home: Dream Deferred?) -- not to mention the deal it has for FTTH with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) (see Verizon Deploys Marconi).

All told, Marconi's product choices seem to make sense. The PON market is growing slowly, although recent fundings indicate investor faith in a 2003 market upswing (see Salira Secures $7 Million More).

In contrast, Marconi appears to be set to stake a claim against players such as Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), as carriers take renewed interest in ATM multiservice switches (see Nortel Unveils Passport 20000, The Great ATM Switch Blitz, and A New Optical Taxonomy).

On the downside, it's not yet clear how many employees associated with Marconi's access division will be let go. Rumors are swirling in the Richardson, Texas, area, where much of the access division is headquartered. Sources say recruiters are being told of a large-scale layoff within the near term. Marconi would not confirm specifics.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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