No Shows

One thing needs to be said up front: All the vendors in this test deserve a lot of credit. Even the worst numbers any of them put up are still infinitely superior to the empty space created by the many vendors that claim to offer Internet core routers — but that failed to show up for testing.

Let's do the math: Network Test invited 11 vendors to take part, and only four of them actually did so. A rough, back-of-the-envelope calculation gives us... seven vendors with some explaining to do.

Six vendors declined outright to participate. Alcatel USA simply didn’t respond to the test invitation. Nortel Networks Corp. bowed out, ignoring requests for an explanation. Lucent Technologies Inc. said resource constraints prevented it from participating. IronBridge Networks Inc., Pluris Inc., and Unisphere Networks Inc. all said their products wouldn’t be ready in time for our project. (Ironbridge wasn’t kidding – it subsequently declared bankruptcy.)

A seventh vendor, Avici Systems Inc., agreed to participate but did not appear for its scheduled time slot, saying it lacked adequate resources to support the test.

Each of these vendors says it’s got the best Internet core router going. Until the no-shows can back up their talk, we’ll remain skeptical. As far as we’re concerned there are today only four vendors — Charlotte’s Networks Ltd., Cisco Systems Inc., Foundry Networks Inc., and Juniper Networks Inc. — that actually walk the walk.

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