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Optical/IP

Lucent Preps MPLS Infusion

Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) has yet to make its entry into the multiservice edge router campaign, but the company is at least preparing some baby steps for customers interested in Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS).

Sources say Lucent's CBX 500 will get an MPLS infusion later this year, in the form of a card built by Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR). The card is essentially the guts of a Juniper M7i router, sources say, and will let the CBX support popular features such as MPLS-based virtual private networks (VPNs).

The card is a precursor to the CBX 3500, a switch expected to bring Lucent's ATM and Frame Relay legacy more in line with the convergence of networks to an IP/MPLS core. Lucent declines to comment on unannounced products, but it's well known that the 3500 is being prepared for launch this year (see Lucent's WaveSmith Killer).

The new card for the CBX 500 is likely to "allow limited MPLS capability in terms of scaleability," says Kevin Mitchell, an analyst with Infonetics Research Inc. By contrast, the 3500 "will be designed with MPLS more from the start -- that's what it seems like."

Lucent has drawn criticism for the age of the CBX line, as no major upgrades have surfaced since the acquisition of Ascend Communications in June 1999. That's created some doubt about Lucent's viability in the new multiservice edge area, where major competitors have introduced new systems built from scratch. Among them are the 7750 from Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA); the M320 from Juniper; the MPE 9000 from Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT); and the 8800 line from Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA).

Critics say Lucent's answer is rather awkward at first glance. Being a Juniper creation, the new card looks more like a transplant than a plain upgrade. According to one source, it won't use Lucent's management system, and it may require awkward external cabling to get connected. In other words, it doesn't have the same smooth integration being claimed by competitors.

But is integration overrated? CIMI Corp. analyst Tom Nolle, who claims no knowledge of Lucent's future CBX plans, says an awkward-fitting card wouldn't be that big a deal in terms of sales. That's because Lucent's primary targets will be the company's present customer base: carriers already using the CBX for ATM and Frame Relay services.

"The value [of a CBX 500 upgrade] would lie in its ability to migrate a current user of Lucent products," Nolle says. "Issues like cabling and management are somewhat like aesthetic issues. Service providers are looking for the cheapest way to add functions; it doesn't have to be the most elegant way."

On Lucent's end, the creation of an MPLS card makes sense if it gives carriers one less reason to replace any CBX 500s as they gradually shift traffic to the MPLS world. For those insistent on building new MPLS networks, Lucent is reselling Juniper's routers through a partnership established last year (see Lucent Partners With Juniper).

The strategy mirrors Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) addition of an MPLS card to its MGX line of switches. "It's probably the right way to do it," Nolle says. "If I wanted to add MPLS to an ATM switch, the smart thing to do would be to create an MPLS trunk card."

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

orange 12/5/2012 | 1:38:30 AM
re: Lucent Preps MPLS Infusion Wasn't Nolle the rocket scientist who said a few years back the tmx880 was the wave of the future? Or was it Oz? Or both? He has proven himself more than once to be a complete idiot. That or he's on Lucent's payroll. I'll let you decide.



priorlucentemp 12/5/2012 | 1:38:28 AM
re: Lucent Preps MPLS Infusion I wandering for how long these loosers will keep creating worthless news to get the attention of others .
When you see Rod alferness (Lucent CTO) who is a complete idiot and cluless still in charge tells you a lot about lucent future: no future...
flam 12/5/2012 | 1:38:17 AM
re: Lucent Preps MPLS Infusion Sources say Lucent's CBX 500 will get an MPLS infusion later this year, in the form of a card built by Juniper Networks Inc. ... The card is essentially the guts of a Juniper M7i router ...


I don't even know what to say. So the services model requires Juniper to provide a service to Lucent by building the cards for Lucent boxes.

What're the Lucent "engineers" gonna do - wipe them clean once a week with a wet tissue?

Jeez.


ATMRules 12/5/2012 | 1:38:15 AM
re: Lucent Preps MPLS Infusion One day soon, Juniper is going to wake up and end their OEM agreement with LULU and realize they've made deal with a real turkey...I don't think the CBX3500 is going to do squat maybe some small deals here and there but that's it...JUNIPER is making the card for the CBX-500????..a sure sign that the end is near to the aging CBX-500...

ATMRules
WiserNow 12/5/2012 | 1:38:13 AM
re: Lucent Preps MPLS Infusion Lucent has been shedding engineers for years. It isn't surprising that they can't build their own cards anymore. The only folks left are systems engineers, who make powerpoint, not systems.

Buying Telica was a final acknowlegment that they can no longer even make a switch. They have no core competence remaining.

It is sad.
flam 12/5/2012 | 1:38:11 AM
re: Lucent Preps MPLS Infusion Time to buy some Juniper stock.
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