Laurel Wraps Up KT Deal
It’s been a busy summer for the edge router startup. Just last week, Laurel drew a $20 million investment from Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) (see Ciena Takes Stake in Laurel). The week before that, the company (which still holds the No. 1 perch on Light Reading's Top Ten Private Companies) announced that South Korea’s Dacom Corp. would become a customer (see Laurel Dates Dacom).
Laurel is attracting interest in the Asian market because its ST200 edge router is a good fit for new metro data services. Ethernet services are very popular in Asia and, to a large extent, have more momentum there than they do in North America, where incumbent carriers are being more cautious in deploying Ethernet.
According to Laurel, KT will be using the ST200 to connect TDM-based DS3 circuits to 100-Mbit/s or 1-Gbit/s Ethernet. Unlike the Dacom deal, KT is deploying the gear primarily to deliver Internet connectivity with BGP peering and security features. Dacom and Level 3 Communications Inc. (see Laurel Scores at Level 3) were looking to use the ST200 to deploy Layer 2 Virtual Private Network (VPN) services based on Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS).
The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and KT representatives were not available for comment.
Progress at KT likely helped Ciena make the decision to invest in Laurel and forge a reseller agreement. “It certainly helped to pull the partnership together,” says Steve Vogelsang, Laurel’s vice president of marketing.
In addition to the Ciena arrangement, the startup has a reseller agreement with Marconi Corp. plc (OTC: MONIY) (see Laurel & Marconi Make It Official).
So what’s next? Vogelsang hints that more deals are in the pipeline. “We’re seeing more RFP activity from big carriers in the U.S., and we continue to pursue other deals in Asia. Europe is heating up also.”
Though the deal with KT -- one of South Korea’s major carriers -- gives Laurel more credibility, there is no shortage of incumbents pursuing the metro Ethernet market, including router players Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), in addition to Ethernet switching players such as Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY) and Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR). Asia will likely remain a key battleground.
— R. Scott Raynovich, US Editor, Light Reading