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Optical/IP

Gotham Networks Joins Crowd on the Edge

Startup Gotham Networks is on a cleanup mission. This month it plans to announce a switch/router aimed at reducing or eliminating the amount of equipment carriers require at the network edge -- where different types of traffic are aggregated and sent onto the optical backbone. Gotham, which just announced its second round of funding (see Gotham Networks ), says its gear will streamline the provisioning and management of new services.

It's a claim Gotham Networks shares with a host of other vendors, including Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), Siemens AG (Frankfurt: SIE), and Riverstone Networks.

To distinguish itself, Gotham Networks aims to offer a lower-priced platform with high performance. To do this, it will use network processors that perform a range of functions in one chipset (see Network Processors Proliferate). This tack will reduce the cost of the router, improve its performance, and ensure a cheaper upgrade path, the vendor says. The components will be made by an undisclosed partner.

Gotham Networks also plans to ship network management and provisioning software with its box that will use MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) to give carriers a way to manipulate bandwidth across multiple switches located in different central offices, the vendor says.

All this sounds terrific, but raises questions -- ones the vendor refuses to answer on the basis that it's still early days.

It's not reassuring that certain members of Gotham's team are seasoned veterans of brochureware projects: Vijay Aggarwal, for instance, was the principal architect of Nexabit Networks' Terabit Router -- which present owner Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) still hasn't successfully commercialized.

-- Mary Jander, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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