Ethernet equipment

Ciena Thinks Big in Ethernet

The acquisition of World Wide Packets has Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) weaving some ambitious plans in Ethernet services.

Ciena officials are saying they want to use WWP's technology to create networks that give service providers an end-to-end view of the services they're offering, with "end" referring to the former WWP's customer premises boxes.

The strategy is coming to light as Ciena rolls out two new WWP-derived product today. (See Ciena Expands Portfolio.)

It could lead to some changes in Ciena's Ethernet portfolio. Officials are talking about integrating WWP with Ciena products like the CN 4200 FlexSelect -- not by combining boxes, but by finding ways to infuse the rest of the network with WWP's service awareness.

"One thing that would make sense would be having a common look and feel and implementation across the portfolio, so when an Ethernet operator is doing something like Ethernet OA&M [operations, administration, and management], that look and feel should be similar across the devices," says Dave Parks, a Ciena director of marketing. "That's just one example."

This could help in areas like troubleshooting, where an operator could use one glance to see which network segment is performing poorly, rather than checking box by box.

"What we need to get more tightly integrated is the end-to-end view of a service," says Tom Mock, senior vice president of strategic planning at Ciena.

Many elements of the WWP integration are still in the planning stages. One key, for example, will be to take advantage of WWP's LightningEdge Operating System (LEOS), which has been enhanced by Ciena to create what the company is calling a service-aware operating system. Ciena wants to spread that OS to more of the portfolio, but exactly how that's going to be done is yet to be determined.

Ciena is trotting out a couple of customer-premises additions to the former World Wide Packets lineup. The CN 3911 Service Delivery Switch includes eight ports that can scale up to Gigabit Ethernet speeds, and two Gigabit Ethernet uplinks. (See Ciena Expands Portfolio.) It's an outdoor-hardened box, making it suitable for wireless backhaul.

The CN 3920 is a smaller box, described by Ciena as an entry-level business switch. It's got four optical ports and eight copper ports, each of which can handle Gigabit Ethernet.

Ciena acquired World Wide Packets in March for a controversial $290 million, with Provider Backbone Transport cited as one factor that made WWP attractive. (See Ciena Takes Out World Wide Packets, Did Ciena Overpay for WWP?, Who Wanted WWP?, and PBT Key to Ciena Acquisition.)

At the time, Ethernet had already been a central focus for Ciena for more than a year. (See Ciena Continues Ethernet Push, Ciena's Ethernet Push Pays Off, and Ciena Enhances 4200 With Ethernet.)

Heavy Reading analyst Stan Hubbard expects WWP's LE-3300 will become Ciena's carrier Ethernet flagship. (See Carrier Ethernet Continues Climbing.) Ciena has renamed that product the 5305 Services Aggregation Switch, by the way.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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COMMENTS Add Comment
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:30:01 PM
re: Ciena Thinks Big in Ethernet While it's important to remember that Ciena has a 1% market share (actually less, IIRC), they're talking a good game. It sounds like they've found a lot of promise in WWP, and that software now gets an audience with bigger carriers. Could be interesting.

I'm still unclear on how they're going to spread LEOS to the rest of the portfolio. Massive software upgrades? or build a WWP-minded cousin to the 4200?
materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:29:59 PM
re: Ciena Thinks Big in Ethernet Dear Craig:

Perhaps they upgrade the system gradually. For a unified management system to work, it seems like they have to gradually introduce a common set of agents into all these devices.

Secondly, does this point and click management move allow enterprises and munis to finally disintermediate the telcos?
KC-Kiwi 12/5/2012 | 3:29:57 PM
re: Ciena Thinks Big in Ethernet where is the PBB/PBT support?
douggreen 12/5/2012 | 3:29:47 PM
re: Ciena Thinks Big in Ethernet For the "vision" of comprehensive end to end management to come true, one of two things have to happen.

1.Ciena has to own all the equipment from end to end in the providers network.
2.Ciena has to convince all the other equipment providers within the packet network to standardize on their management scheme (is Cisco listening?).

Which one is Ciena saying will happen, or have all the brilliant analysts forgotten to ask that question?

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