Siemens Unveils 21CN Partners

Discloses the partners it's taking into BT's 21CN next-gen network project, with Juniper leading the way

October 7, 2005

4 Min Read
Siemens Unveils 21CN Partners

MADRID – Broadband World Forum Europe – Siemens Communications Group has unveiled the set of technology partners it is taking with it into {dirlink 5|21}'s (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) next-generation network project.

In April this year {dirlink 2|75} (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) was named as a preferred supplier for BT's £10 billion (US$17.6 billion) 21st century network (21CN) metro nodes, along with {dirlink 2|9} (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and {dirlink 2|19} (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Siemens Picked for BT's 21CN and BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers.)

With the other two metro suppliers having already talked about some of their related partnerships, Siemens has now exclusively revealed to Light Reading its set of partners. (See Alcatel Names Its 21CN Partners and BT's 21CN: Metro Partners Under Wraps .)

Keith Harvey, a general manager at Siemens' fixed networks division, says his company's major collaborator in the BT project is long-time partner {dirlink 12|20} (Nasdaq: JNPR), while traffic management firm Allot Communications, media server vendor IP Unity Inc., and OSS firm Dorado Software Inc. are also part of the Siemens 21CN package. (See Lucent Partners With Juniper.)

As part of its role in the 21CN project, Siemens is responsible "for specific zones of the new architecture, including Carrier Ethernet products, IP routers, network technical support, initial conformance testing of multiple vendors’ equipment and its integration into BT’s new network," according to its April press release. Here's how Siemens plans to meet that responsibility:

  • Siemens is delivering its own Surpass hiG 1200 media gateway and Surpass hiD Ethernet switch, the latter being an edge aggregation product that comes from its Seabridge Ltd. division. In addition it has an integration and network services team that will work with BT and the other preferred vendors. "I've been amazed at the level of cooperation between the 21CN vendors," says Harvey.

  • As previously announced, Siemens is also delivering various Juniper routers, with the M320 multiservice edge router playing a significant role. (See Juniper Details 21CN Involvement.)

    In addition, though, Siemens is also delivering the session border controller products that Juniper now owns following its acquisition of Kagoor Networks, and some network security technology from Juniper's NetScreen business. (See Juniper to Acquire Kagoor, Juniper Buys NetScreen, and Juniper Hatches the M320.)

    Juniper is also playing a major role in the core network part of the 21CN project, again through a partner in the form of {dirlink 2|94} (NYSE: LU). Harvey notes that Siemens has already provided a number of Juniper M320 routers to BT's Broadcast Networks business. (See BT's 21CN Deals: Booty or Bloody? and BT Builds IP Broadcast Net With Juniper.)

  • IP Unity is Siemens' media server partner in the BT project, which should come as no surprise. Siemens Venture Capital (SVC) is one of 10 investors in IP Unity, and Siemens has identified the firm as a close partner in the past. (See Siemens Gets Closer to Gen Band, IPUnity Enhances Media Server, and Siemens Funds IP Unity.)

    IP Unity is more shy than Siemens about the BT engagement and declined to comment. The company has been picking up steady business in the carrier market in the past year or so and is busy developing its IMS roadmap. (See IP Unity Names Customers, Telekom Malaysia Picks IP Unity, IP Unity Wins KMS Deal, and IP Unity Touts Compliance .)

  • Traffic management vendor Allot confirmed its role as a Siemens 21CN partner, but couldn't provide any further detail at this time. The company's policy-based traffic and network monitoring technology enables carriers to develop services that require bandwidth management capabilities, and will help enable quality of service (QOS) capabilities and help protect customers from security threats. (See Allot Strengthens Carrier Products and Allot Touts Customers.)

  • Dorado's software is essentially an enhanced element management system (EMS) designed to help the management of Juniper routers, says Siemens' Harvey, though it can also be used to manage Cisco equipment. Dorado is one of the emerging stars of the OSS sector, according to a Heavy Reading OSS market perception report published earlier this year. (See Report: OSS Minnows Have Muscle.) Dorado declined to comment.

While Siemens has put together its set of partners and technologies to meet BT's 21CN needs, Harvey notes that negotiations are still ongoing with BT regarding the commercial details.

BT is known to be driving a very hard bargain with its 21CN suppliers, and while the carrier had expected to have contracts signed during the summer months, a BT spokesman confirms that "work is still ongoing regarding final agreements."

The BT spokesman adds that, although the contracts are yet unsigned, that isn't delaying any 21CN work or affecting any targets. BT aims to switch off its PSTN and have all voice and data traffic running over a converged IP network in 2010.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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