Cisco Lights Up COMET

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) helped move the markets this week with a handful of announcements about its products and proclamations about its financial performance, even though much of what it said has been said before.

The company did make some progressive product announcements and said that orders for November met its forecasts, but the networking giant didn't change its overall financial guidance and said it still doesn't know if we've seen the bottom of the enterprise and telecom spending recession.

First, Cisco unveiled its Cisco Complete Optical Multi-service Edge and Transport, or "COMET," a clever renaming of the product group that previously made up its service provider business portfolio and some of its enterprise storage products. With the new strategy, Cisco appears to be embracing an idea that service providers and enterprises essentially are closing the gaps in their networks' differences.

"A lot of the requirements for service providers and enterprises in some areas, such as metro DWDM, are starting to look the same," says Jeff Santos, the senior director of marketing for Cisco's Photonics Business Unit.

Of course, not everyone agrees with that idea. In his keynote at the Lightspeed networking conference held in London on Thursday, Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) CEO Scott Kriens argued that because the public networks are relied upon for both personal and national emergencies, they have very different requirements than that of a private enterprise -- namely, they can’t fail. ”These are not the same markets and they’re not the same standards,” he says.

On the products front, Cisco launched a new long-haul dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM) product, the ONS 15808, a 2.5- and 10-Gbits/s box designed to address network spans up to 2,000 kilometers. Cisco also announced that Velocita Corp., one of the carriers it has helped finance, was going to be using the new product. The company wouldn't give details as to the size or scope of Velocita's commitment.

Though Velocita is a new company building a new network, Cisco insists that its long-haul boxes will appeal to older carriers and a variety of networks. "We're not asking carriers to change the way they build backbone networks. We are offering them a way to remove some costs," says Santos.

Cisco's ONS 15454 product continues to be the workhorse in the companies optical product family. The company boasts that it has shipped some 33,000 systems to 700 customers. Adding to the tally this week was Cisco's announcement that Williams Communications Group (NYSE: WCG) would be using the ONS 15454 in its metro access networks. Cisco wouldn't disclose how many systems Williams has bought or was planning to buy.

Other Cisco announcements this week included the completion of various levels of interoperability between Cisco's ONS 15540 and products or services from IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Metromedia Fiber Network Inc.(MFN) (Nasdaq: MFNX), and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ). The company also introduced a new DWDM interface for its ONS 15200 products, allowing them to carry multiple data and storage services over the same optical fiber.

Cisco says the decision to put its products under the COMET umbrella was based on giving service providers and enterprises a single reference point for all their network needs. "It's all about providing service variety, density, and capacity at the metro edge," says Rob Koslowsky, the director of marketing for Cisco's optical networking group.

Cisco's announcements and positive momentum helped an already big tech stock rally this week. Cisco shares climbed from $19.85 to $21.54 (8.46%) between the end of trading Monday and the end of trading Wednesday.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
fsubob 12/4/2012 | 10:47:50 PM
re: Cisco Lights Up COMET signmeup: get your story straight, not sure where youget your information, but I can tell you for a fact SBC is not deploying ONS15540 at all in their network.

This leads me to questoin all you statements.

I'll strap on my boots...
skeptic 12/4/2012 | 10:47:50 PM
re: Cisco Lights Up COMET Juniper has no interest in optical BECAUSE IT IS TOO LATE for them to jump on the bandwagon. Besides, who do you think will be hurt more when Procket delivers its products? Cisco or Juniper? Juniper must be shaking in their boots right about now.
In the case of procket, it might be "if" rather
than "when" they deliver their products. And
given that nobody knows how long its going to
take procket to even reach market now, Procket
is not the same threat to Juniper it used to

roidechu 12/4/2012 | 7:28:37 PM
re: Cisco Lights Up COMET Why Cisco is keeping his optical platform separated from their IP router?
Why they have not an optical switch?
Why they do not promote IP over wavelength?
I think it is one of the mistery of this huge company.
HarveyMudd 12/4/2012 | 7:28:31 PM
re: Cisco Lights Up COMET It is a pure speculation and callous statement on the part of Cisco to state that the difference between rthe carriers network and enterprise networks have disappeared. This statement is intended to push their products both to to the enterprise and carriers. It is really alarming situation that Cisco would go to such an extent.

Mr. Scott Kriens is absolutely correct in pointing out that their different reliability requirements betwwen the enterprse networks and the carriers networks. I am really astounded by Cisco's misrepresentationseither due to ignorance or misleading the buyers.

Cisco, Nortel and Lucent know its first hand that finacing swervice providers in exchange for buying equipment is a dangerous business both for the provider and the equipment vendor.

I would like to know the names of top20 providers who are buying Cisco,s ONS 15454.

cable_guy 12/4/2012 | 7:28:23 PM
re: Cisco Lights Up COMET "Mr. Scott Kriens is absolutely correct in pointing out that their different reliability requirements betwwen the enterprse networks and the carriers networks."

Are you guys kidding me? Go talk to any big enterprise with mission critical apps running over an optical infrastructure and ask them if they expect their networks to be any less reliable than "public" networks. THEY ALL HAVE TO BE BULLETPROOF! This is where the lines between enterprise and service provider disappear. Additionally, I would argue that enterprises are capable of building and managing networks that are MORE reliable than service provider networks due to their scale and level of control.
signmeup 12/4/2012 | 7:28:22 PM
re: Cisco Lights Up COMET Harvey, Harvey, Harvey.... When are you going to learn to not open your mouth so that stupid things don't come out?

Not to defend Cisco at all, and no I do NOT work for them, the line between LARGE enterprise networks and carriers has ALREADY disappeared!!! Let me give you 2 examples: Texas Instruments and Fidelity Investments. I know for a fact that the network that runs TI's FAB (you know, where they make chips) facilities is allowed only 1/2 day of downtime per year, and that's on Christmas day or Thanksgiving in order to clean the facilities. After 30 minutes of an outage at a FAB facility you have to scrap the ENTIRE production run costing MILLIONS of dollars.
Let's think about Fidelity Investments for a second... How much money is lost due to even a minute of downtime? Fidelity is willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to prevent this from happening. So you are gonna sit there and tell me that these enterprises doesn't have the same reliability requirements as a carrier???? Keep smoking that good stuff, cause you ain't thinking clearly.

Juniper has no interest in optical BECAUSE IT IS TOO LATE for them to jump on the bandwagon. Besides, who do you think will be hurt more when Procket delivers its products? Cisco or Juniper? Juniper must be shaking in their boots right about now.

And let's see, out of Cisco, Nortel, and Lucent, which one STILL has 19 BILLION dollars in cash ON HAND? Cisco's vendor financing structure is WAY different than Nortel's or Lucent's.

Finally, let's see, who's using the 15454... SBC, WorldCom, Williams, AT&T, Sprint, EPGN.... Just to name a few.

And finally NO I DO NOT WORK FOR CISCO NOR DO I HAVE ANY GREAT AFFINITY FOR THEM; however when I hear your crap being spouted with obviously no intelligence behind the words I feel I must respond.

Please, respond, I want to put on my wading boots again.
jsailor 12/4/2012 | 7:28:22 PM
re: Cisco Lights Up COMET
To put things in perspective, a recent study by contingency planning research (http://www.contingencyplanning... indicated that 1 hour of downtime costs the average brokerage firm over 6.5 Million dollars.
Credit card authorization was around 2.6 million.

rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 7:28:13 PM
re: Cisco Lights Up COMET The reliability and availability arguements made for market convergence of carrier and enterprise do seem valid. (Though many still refer to their data infrastructure as their "notwork")

A problem which may keep these markets distinct is that of technology churn. Enterprises can afford to replace their technology every three years. Carriers can't, particularly if it requires retraining a large operational staff.
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