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Caspian Charges Hard

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
6/22/2001

Caspian Networks has announced further progress in its journey to the core of the optical network. And, in the process, it's removed another layer of mystery from its nascent product.

The startup announced this morning that it has inked contracts with Applied Micro Circuits Corp. (AMCC) (Nasdaq: AMCC), Celestica Inc. (NYSE/TSE: CLS), IBM Microelectronics (NYSE: IBM), and IONA Technologies (Nasdaq: IONA) (see Caspian Reveals Strategic Partners).

Of particular interest is the agreement with IBM, whereby Big Blue's Microelectronics unit will fabricate ASICs designed by Caspian. Analysts say IBM typically only takes on ASIC customers it thinks have a chance at success.

"There's no question that an IBM ASIC deal is a feather in a startup's cap," says Tom Hausken, senior analyst, optical communications, at consultancy Strategies Unlimited.

Today's announcement also lends some interesting color to the emerging picture of Caspian's product, dubbed Apeiro. As anticipated, the Apeiro will be a terabit switch/router for broadband IP networks (see Caspian Networks).

The company says its first release will have a mind-boggling 155-Tbit/s maximum capacity and will support a range of user interfaces that include Sonet/SDH and gigabit Ethernet (thanks to AMCC's framing components). It will support BGP, IS-IS, and MPLS (traffic management will be facilitated through use of the Iona software), and will not feature any DWDM capabilities.

While it's hinted at all of these details in prior announcements and interviews with Light Reading, today's news indicates the company's ready to tackle its market task aggressively. Indeed, Caspian seems to want to make clear that it's following in the footsteps of the very companies it hopes to compete against -- specifically, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), both of which also are customers of IBM and AMCC.

It's a bold tack, but one Caspian isn't shying away from or watering down with apologies. "We are seeking to replace traditional routers, such as Cisco's GSR 12000 and Juniper's M160 and M40, at the network core," a spokesman says.

Can Caspian succeed? The jury's out. "I think they have a great technology play," says David Yedwab, executive VP of Eastern Management Group. "Their chances depend on how well they're received in the market and on how well they can scale the business to support their goals."

- Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com

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wdog
wdog
12/4/2012 | 8:11:48 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
These guys may have something great, but annoucing some supplier agreements is hardly any great accomplishment, and certainly not any indication of whether they can deliver anything. Come LR, you're drinking their PR Kool Aid
kupfi
kupfi
12/4/2012 | 8:11:48 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
Is it only me that has a feeling that LR gives undue importance to the press releases of the companies in which it is interested for some reason (Or which advertise on LR), while ignoring much important news about other companies in which it has no interest.
euler
euler
12/4/2012 | 8:11:46 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
I agree, announcing partnerships with companies that will supply or manufacture parts is no indication of success, especially since the partnering companies probably boosted their capabilities on churning things out and then the slow down hit...
skeptic
skeptic
12/4/2012 | 8:11:45 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
I looked at their website. I still can't find
any real description of what they are actually
building. They say its not a router. But
yet they intend to replace M40's and GSR's.

Their PR knocks big routers, but they claim to
be building a 155 Tb+ router.

This press release is total junk. The packet
processing vendor and the ASIC fab were selected
by caspian probably a couple years ago. So what.

Caspian's story is that the "router is dead". If
the router is dead, then its up to them to
explain:

- What it is they are building. They never have.

- How what they are building is an open solution
that carriers will adopt. (rather than being a
caspian properitary networking technology).

And despite what people at light reading think,
they have never explained exactly what they
are building. Today's hype doesn't say anything
more useful than previous hype.



skeptic
skeptic
12/4/2012 | 8:11:44 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
I agree, announcing partnerships with companies that will supply or manufacture parts is no indication of success, especially since the partnering companies probably boosted their capabilities on churning things out and then the slow down hit...
---------------------------
These partnerships were likely established years
ago. Nobody just picks a fab at the last minute.
And caspian is going to be doing custom stuff at
low volume. Its insignifcant business to IBM.

Establishing the fab relationship is an important
milestone for an early startup company, but not
for a company that claims to be getting ready to
release product.
roxynewton
roxynewton
12/4/2012 | 8:11:41 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
A far cry from "Crunch Time at Avici"
A startup with a shipping product (6.5% of the OC-192 Market) and 1 live customer (AT&T) as well as six in various stages of trial (more in the queue)...
Continues to exceed quarterly results...
LR Biases??????????
drone387
drone387
12/4/2012 | 8:11:37 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
"Of particular interest is the agreement with IBM, whereby Big Blue's Microelectronics unit will fabricate ASICs designed by Caspian. Analysts say IBM typically only takes on ASIC customers it thinks have a chance at success."

Actually, IBM is expensive as witnessed by Transmeta's recent production shift to Taiwan for cost savings. IBMs technology is top rate, but how many startups can realistically afford them? [Especially with low volumes.] IBM tends to be knocked out of the game early due to cost when considering ASIC vendors.
aos824
aos824
12/4/2012 | 8:11:36 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
I am no fan of caspian but I do think partnering
with IBM is a big deal IF one needs to seriously
push ASIC technology and yet minimize risk and
schedule slip.

If a product does not require ASICs to be
on the bleeding edge, there are indeed cheaper
and/or equally-good alternatives to IBM.

Transmeta is out there with a working chip. The
question really is, could they have gotten it
working in the timeframe that they did,
without IBM? Now that they are past that hurdle,
Transmeta has the luxury/option of lowering
costs by signing up less expensive vendors.

reoptic
reoptic
12/4/2012 | 8:11:31 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
Company issues release that others have agreed to let it pay them money to use their services? Big deal that IBM lets them use fab when IBM has capacity glut now and major business downturn? Is there any analysis in this article whatsoever? Is LR going downhill?
anh115
anh115
12/4/2012 | 8:11:31 PM
re: Caspian Charges Hard
anybody have an idea of the port speed of this switch? are they doing 0c192 or oc768 or something else?
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