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Atrica Rounds Out the Edge

Light Reading
Supercomm News Analysis
Light Reading
5/27/2003

Metro Ethernet startup Atrica Inc. has tipped its hand regarding product announcements at Supercomm 2003 in Atlanta next week. It also appears to have tipped the hype, issuing a press release in which it claims to have sold over 50,000 Ethernet ports in the second quarter of 2003 (see Atrica Augments Ethernet Offerings).

At Supercomm, Atrica will announce that it's rounding out its product portfolio with the addition of three new products: the A-4100 Optical Ethernet Aggregation Switch and the A-2101 and A-2140 Optical Ethernet Edge Switches.

The new A-4100 will sit between the A-8000 core switch and the A-2100s, aggregating flows from the edge switches and feeding it into the A-8000. The A-4100 is designed to fit into small carrier points of presence or central offices. Basically it's a smaller version of the A-8000, a product with which it can share line cards.

The A-2101 and A-2140 build upon attributes of Atrica’s A-2100 family. These optical Ethernet switches provide connectivity at the metro edge, offering a combination of Ethernet interfaces and Ethernet Circuit Emulation Services (CES) at DS1, DS3, OC3, and OC12 rates. The A-2101 is available in six fixed configurations. The A-2140 is a small modular box that supports all the A-2100 platform functions. But unlike the A-2100 it is also NEBS compliant with a redundant power supply (AC or DC).

“It’s important for Atrica to build out its product line to offer carriers a single solution,” says Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst at Infonetics Research Inc. “And smaller, aggregation equipment is especially important, since that’s where a lot of the action is right now.”

As for Atrica's announcement that it's shipped 50,000 Ethernet ports in the second quarter of 2003, it's a claim that's nearly impossible to verify. But, given the current sales of Ethernet ports, it's a bit hard to credit. According to a January study published by Infonetics, equipment vendors are expected to sell a total of 217,000 metro Ethernet ports in the second quarter of 2003. That would mean startup Atrica had garnered nearly 25% of the market.

Competitors like Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), and Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY) still outsell Atrica, notes Howard. But he says he is impressed with the startup’s progress.

“Most companies are holding this information close to the vest," he says. "It takes a lot of moxie to talk about how much you’re shipping.”

So far, all of Atrica’s announced customers have been in either Europe or Asia. These carriers include Hokkaido Telecom Network (HOTnet) in Japan, Al-Pi Telecomunicacions in Spain, and France Telecom SA (NYSE: FTE) (see Atrica Plugs Into France Telecom), which is also an investor in Atrica. The company also claims to have at least 12 unnamed service provider customers that are either testing, trialing, or deploying Atrica products.

“The France Telecom deal is really telling,” adds Howard. “Even though they’re an investor, they’re one of the first PTTs to deploy optical Ethernet.”

Even if the startup is ramping sales, the Ethernet market is still a crowded field, and it's expected that Cisco, Extreme, and Foundry will continue to upgrade their own product offerings to target carrier customers.

— Marguerite Reardon, Senior Editor, Light Reading

For extensive and up-to-date coverage of Supercomm – before, during, and after the show – visit Light Reading's Supercomm Preview Site.

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