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Optical/IP

Lantern Flickering?

Lantern Communications Inc. is searching for money and may have put itself on the selling block, sources say.

Lantern, which builds systems for Resilient Packet Ring Technology (RPR,), reportedly has already offered itself to NEC Corp. (Nasdaq: NIPNY) and been turned down.

More generally, rumors of a Lantern sale have circulated for several weeks. One source says Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) even made an offer. Ciena's policy is not to comment on such issues, according to a spokesman.

Lantern officials also declined comment. "All of our relationships are confidential," says CEO Doug "Discreet" Jacobs. NEC officials couldn't be reached immediately.

Competitors have long questioned Lantern's chances, with some suggesting that a shutdown is imminent. "That's certainly not true," says Nader Vijeh, Lantern's CTO. "We had a slight headcount reduction, but that's about it. We have about 30 people right now."

Jacobs admits the company is looking for money "like everybody else." Lantern raised more than $74 million in two rounds in 2000, and investors ponied up $10 million more with Jacobs's appointment in October (see Lantern Changes Its Bulb and Lantern Names CEO).

The money is enough to keep Lantern alight, Jacobs says. "We've got revenue coming in. We've been very prudent with the way we've handled our cash. We think one way or another, we'll keep going until the market gets up."

Lantern hasn't announced any customers, but one source says the NEC SpectralWave MMSP 1000 and 2000 systems are Lantern's designs, licensed to NEC in an OEM deal -- making NEC a logical candidate if Lantern is searching for buyers. (This particular source hadn't heard about the rumored acquisition talks.) NEC touts the MMSPs as RPR-capable boxes for 10-Gbit/s metro rings. If they're Lantern's systems, they would presumably use the 10-Gbit/s modules that recently reached general availability (see Lantern Rolls Out RPR Gear).

Jacobs wouldn't comment on whether Lantern and NEC have an OEM deal.

The RPR market has begun showing signs of life -- AT&T Corp. (NYSE: T) showed strong interest last winter, and Fibernet Group plc (London: FIB) announced this week that it's using RPR ito offer Ethernet services in its U.K. network. On the equipment side, Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) is joining the fray. (See Who Knew? Big Carriers Like RPR, Fibernet Enhances Ethernet Services and Siemens Is Shaping Up).

Fibernet's example aside, much of the current interest seems to be in RPR's interplay with Sonet, as opposed to the Ethernet-based implementations many had envisioned early on (see RPR’s New Guise: The Packet ADM).

Lantern still has faith in both the Sonet and Ethernet markets. "We think the metro Ethernet market is vibrant" and that Sonet and Ethernet will both be big, Jacobs says. "All indications are that Ethernet will become the market standard. The global market's moving in that direction."

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
RPRMan 12/5/2012 | 12:05:11 AM
re: Lantern Flickering? What I am hearing from insiders is a lot more grim than what you guys just published. I hear there are only about 16 employees left including Doug Jacobs whose last day was probably today, not surprising since a company of 15 people doesn't really need a CEO.

jAcKyChEn 12/5/2012 | 12:05:10 AM
re: Lantern Flickering? RPRMan wrote:

What I am hearing from insiders is a lot more grim than what you guys just published. I hear there are only about 16 employees left including Doug Jacobs whose last day was probably today, not surprising since a company of 15 people doesn't really need a CEO.

---------------------------------------------

RPRMan, is your friend okay with your posting this insider's infomation in a public board like this? Or maybe he is not your 'friend'?

Just curious!!

MrLight 12/5/2012 | 12:05:02 AM
re: Lantern Flickering? The statement in the article "the current interest seems to be in RPR's interplay with Sonet, as opposed to the Ethernet" is on the mark for Telcos at this time. MSOs still are on the RPR interplay with Ethernet as can be seen with Cisco's DPT sales.

One thing that will make this "RPR interplay with SONET" a little more difficult to realize is momentum with GFP and virtual concatenation

The way I see RPR 802.17 is the successor to FDDI as a MAN data collection solution, and rightly so, because FDDI has been a difficult technology to work with in the MAN. I found that out first hand when I needed to make it work through an across a Metro DWDM system back in 1998.

As such, RPR should be used as the MAN data collection solution for Routers. The issue with this has been that the Router players have focused on other areas of development until RPR was standardized while the RPR players overshot the rate requirement, which in the initial deployment is mostly 2.5Gbps not 10Gbps. 10Gbps is more for collocation at this time, and miscalculated the continuing need for non-concentrated pipes.

MrLight :-| ... who has been there many times with pre-RPR tributary card implementations
lostinlight 12/5/2012 | 12:04:59 AM
re: Lantern Flickering? Just curious.. Given that there are lots of
installed SONET equipment, the approach that
is least expensive to get some way to utilize current circuits more efficiently for data
seems to be something a backbone provider would
look for in the short run

RPR offers a way to mux bursty traffic and
add-drop on a packet by packet basis at each
SONET node.

How much new equipment is needed to go from SONET
to RPR over SONET vs RPR over (10G?) Ethernet?

That may drive service providers currently more
than anything..

whoshang 12/5/2012 | 12:04:48 AM
re: Lantern Flickering? The bottom line is customers want to carry Ethernet, RPR is an efficient way of doing it.

Either

Ethernet/RPR/(Pos or GFP)/STS-12c:48c:192c

or

Ethernet/RPR/(Pos or GFP)/VConc/STS-1:3c

Vconc adds a lot of useless L1 features that are not needed, i.e. compensation for diff delays!
gea 12/5/2012 | 12:04:47 AM
re: Lantern Flickering? "Vconc adds a lot of useless L1 features that are not needed, i.e. compensation for diff delays!"

Boy do you have that wrong.

First of all, there are no SONET NEs right now that support STS-192c that I know of, and very very few that support STS-48c. And of course most of the legacy stuff can't handle greater than STS-3c. So in order to move STS-12c/48c/192c over legacy gear, virtual concatenation is needed.

If virtual concatenation is used, the accomodating the differential delay is absolutely necessary, because in SONET there's no way to ensure that all STS-1s in an STS-12c travel along the same route (for instance, in a UPSR there's no way, absent of a fiber cut, to make the working STS-1s go around the ring in the same direction). Without the bufers, then, most of your packets won't make it and will be discarded.

As for "most efficient", you are also incorrect. Bandwith is not the only issue. OAM&P run real networks, even if that makes them less efficient. And native-mode ethernet has none of those features, which is why it is almost never deployed in a MAN/WAN context. (And before 'know-it-alls' jump in, make sure the network you use as a counterexample actually uses NATVE mode ethernet.)
sidepipes 12/5/2012 | 12:04:06 AM
re: Lantern Flickering? Sorry, BobbyMax, this time I have to agree with gea. I belive he is right on with VCAT.

sidepipes
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