Ethernet equipment

Aktino Lands Calix Partnership

CHICAGO -- NXTcomm 2007 -- Aktino Inc. has scored a reseller deal with Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX), the first of possibly many Ethernet-over-copper partnerships as startups try to fend off Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN).

Aktino announced today that its boxes will be offered as an Ethernet-over-copper option alongside the Calix C7. Calix does plan to merge Aktino's technology into C7 cards later, says Hamid Lalani, Aktino senior vice president of product management. (See Calix Resells Aktino.)

The companies say the deal is worth several million dollars annually; Lalani adds there are penalties for Calix if it doesn't meet certain volume targets. (Calix, by the way, disputes that part.) The deal is not exclusive for either side.

Founded in 2003, Aktino is the newest of the startups offering copper access based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802.3ah standard for Ethernet in the First Mile. The company entered the market only after Actelis Networks Inc. and Hatteras Networks Inc. , so it's less established.

The deal with Calix gives Aktino some firepower against those two, and against Adtran. While Adtran hasn't officially announced its Ethernet-over-copper plans, it's believed to have won a contract with AT&T. (See Adtran Scores at AT&T.)

The likely vehicle for Adtran's Ethernet-over-copper play would be the Total Access 5000, which is now shipping after being introduced in customer trials late last year. Meanwhile, Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA), another big player in access, handles Ethernet-over-copper on a couple of its products, according to a spokeswoman.

As a result -- particularly in light of Adtran's arrival -- Actelis and Aktino both say they're trying to boost their status with some big-name partnerships.

"We're maybe trying to partner up with some of those guys or try to see how to approach some of their customers together," says Craig Easley, Actelis's associate vice president of marketing.

Lalani says Aktino has been trying to strike up a relationship with Adtran, but he doesn't expect any kind of deal right away -- not "until we can convince them that we can hurt them."

Hatteras, meanwhile, already has partnerships with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE), and one unannounced vendor. In the Cisco case, Hatteras has been getting referrals from the router giant's Web-ordering operation since March 2006. Maybe it doesn't count as a formal partnership, since the Hatteras sale and Cisco sale are on separate purchase orders, but it's not a bad friendship to have.

Aside from namedropping Calix, Aktino hopes to stand out with its technology, which involves lots of initials. It's the only company so far using a VDSL2 technology for this market, based on discrete multitone (DMT) signaling. On top of that, it uses the multiple-in/ multiple-out (MIMO) trick from the wireless realm to boost bandwidth.

By contrast, Actelis and Hatteras base their technology on the SHDSL variety of DSL, although they might add VDSL2 as well. "All the big boys are investing in VDSL2," Easley says.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:06:37 PM
re: Aktino Lands Calix Partnership Intersting side note: George Leopold of Morgan Keegan just put out a note on Adtran. Says he does expect Adtran to be used in AT&T's Ethernet-over-copper and wireless backhaul plans ... but that Adtran's DSL demand from AT&T have "moderated."
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