Cisco, Alcatel Join Infranet Successor

CHICAGO – Supercomm 2005 – As expected, Alcatel and Cisco last night announced they have joined the successor to the Infranet effort begun by Juniper Networks, which in turn will begin working under the auspices of an established standards body (see Infranet Morphs, Cisco & Alcatel Join ).

The reborn group officially got underway today with an inaugural meeting here that included the election of board members and the selection of a name, which has yet to be determined (IIC2? IICII?). Members characterized the meeting -- still going on at press time -- as the first step toward an ambitious industrywide effort to augment networks with the power to apply quality of service (QOS) and security to every application.

Members participating in today's meeting include: The new group was born yesterday with the announcement that Alcatel and Cisco were joining the effort, which was inaugurated by Juniper last year (see Juniper's Infranet Takes Baby Steps). Cisco in particular had steadfastly refused to join the IIC, claiming the industry would be better served by doing this work in the established standards bodies (see Cisco Heckles Infranet Initiative).

Cisco will get its wish, as the new organization will work under the rules of a standards body yet to be determined. Candidates so far are the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

"We've always been of the opinion that there's no reason to have another forum, to have work being done in a closed group. There are all kinds of standards bodies out there," says Jeff Spagnola, Cisco vice president of service provider marketing.

Spagnola called yesterday's announcement "an acknowledgement by Juniper that they can't really get anything done in Infranet without moving it to an open forum" and enlisting the help of fellow big-name vendors.

Juniper declined comment, in part because the company is trying to emphasize that the new group -- and the IIC before it -- aren't just "Juniper" projects.

The new developments probably don't spell the end for Cisco's IP Next-Generation Network (NGN) effort. While IP NGN sounds an awful lot like Infranet, Cisco officials claim the concepts are different in scope.

Several sources say BT pressured the IIC to change, insisting the project couldn't succeed without Alcatel and Cisco on board. BT officials, while not denying that story, aren't quick to take credit, saying it was carriers as a group that pushed for the move.

"I see it as a team effort rather than a catalystic effort," says Brian Levy, a group technology officer for BT.

The question now is whether the new initiative will bog down like... well, a standards body. A few analysts noted that big vendors -- Cisco in particular -- have a reputation for trying to stall any standards that aren't going their way. The process could face unintentional pauses, too, as Alcatel, Cisco, and Juniper try to reach compromise on issues affecting their products.

Levy isn't worried. "Once we begin to show people what they can do with this infrastructure, you will see engineers really start to get excited," he says. "If you can continue that momentum, you will not run into those problems." — Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

flipper 12/5/2012 | 3:11:49 AM
re: Cisco, Alcatel Join Infranet Successor I agree it's good news. The concept is required, even if the "Infranet" name was more of a marketing buzzword for Juniper than a meaningful term to describe what they are trying to acheive.
I only hope that the governments, vendors, carriers and Internet providers can keep their profit based politics out of it and let the engineering community create what is required without interference.
krbabu 12/5/2012 | 3:11:49 AM
re: Cisco, Alcatel Join Infranet Successor Hi All:
I don't know about all the politics that prevented all the vendors from getting together until now, but it sure looks like those political differences have now gotten mitigated. Overall, this is good news for the industry.
light-headed 12/5/2012 | 3:11:45 AM
re: Cisco, Alcatel Join Infranet Successor BT applies the economic thumbscrews until the vendors capitulate. They need these guys to pursue their ultimate dream of turning IP into ATM. CAC forever!!!

ironccie 12/5/2012 | 3:11:32 AM
re: Cisco, Alcatel Join Infranet Successor Looks like the Metro Ethernet Forum, but with SONET. No thanks. I can't afford it.

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