Ethernet equipment

AlcaLu Branches Out

6:00 PM -- If you lump all the Ethernet access and demarcation devices together, you get quite a crowd.

Off the top of my head, I'm counting Actelis Networks Inc. , ADVA Optical Networking , ANDA Networks Inc. , MRV Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: MRVC), RAD Data Communications Ltd. , Telrad Networks Ltd. , and Transmode Systems AB . And I'm probably forgetting somebody obvious.

So, what does Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) see in this market? The company announced its 7210 Service Access Switch today, a customer-premises box intended to be a carrier's vehicle for delivering Ethernet services. (See AlcaLu Unveils Access Switch.)

The new box extends the radius of AlcaLu's Ethernet reach, beyond the metro aggregation spots occupied by the 7450 Ethernet Service Switch. The idea is to give carriers a one-vendor way to set up an enterprise's WAN.

Part of the pitch is that going with AlcaLu would save the time and cost of integrating another vendor's box into the service provider's OSS, says Lindsay Newell, Alcatel-Lucent VP of marketing. (See AlcaLu Unveils Access Switch.)

It's going to be interesting to see if this changes the competitive dynamic here. The other companies doing Ethernet access boxes have already been facing big-name competition, as plain Cisco LAN switches have been acting as carrier customer-premises gear for some time.

But the AlcaLu box has the kinds of carrier features that have become familiar in this space, like support for operations, administration, and maintenance (OAM). And Alcatel-Lucent has that "end-to-end" thing going for it. We'll see how big an advantage that is.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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