Optical/IP Networks

Lucent's WaveSmith Killer

Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) is prepping a compact, multiservice edge switch called the CBX 3500 that is being dubbed by some a "WaveSmith Killer" for its potential to compete with the product Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) got in acquiring startup WaveSmith.

The switch, designed to get a piece of the red-hot action in the multiservice edge market, won't be ready until sometime this summer, according to sources close to Lucent.

That's too bad for Lucent. Having just lost Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) to WaveSmith/Ciena, it's clear that Lucent could have used the product earlier (see Ciena Seals Verizon Deal).

Still, some details Light Reading has uncovered about Lucent's new switch reveal that the vendor might have a nice answer to WaveSmith with the remainder of its installed base.

The new switch will come in a 16-slot chassis, so two will fit in a typical equipment rack. At first the switch will have 10 Gbit/s of capacity, which will grow to 35 Gbit/s in a second release planned for late 2004.

The switch will, according to sources familiar with the product, help carriers expand their ATM, Frame Relay, and private-line service businesses, while allowing them to add advanced services such as Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs, IP-enabled Frame Relay and ATM connections, and advanced Ethernet services.

The product couldn't come soon enough. WaveSmith is winning the minds and hearts of some carriers by offering a high-density, IP-enabled alternative to Lucent's carrier ATM switching products. Lucent's CBX 500 switch, which it got with its purchase of Ascend/Cascade Communications, has been the ATM switch leader, but Lucent has failed to follow it up... until now.

In September 2000, Light Reading reported that Lucent's next-generation ATM switch development hit a snag when a cadre of its ATM experts working on a switch code-named "Oz" reportedly jumped ship to start Équipe Communications Corp. (see Lucent Losing Grip on ATM Core?).

A year later, Light Reading reported that Lucent had bagged its MSC 25000 Multiservice Packet Core Switch, which was first touted as a "new flagship" in Lucent's core switching portfolio (see Lucent Bags High-End Switch).

But after all those fits and starts, Lucent finally has the CBX 3500.

Lucent's advantage, according to our sources, is that the new switch will be able to use the same linecards as the CBX 500, and it uses the same OSS (Navis iOperations) that is already working in most carrier networks. That appeal to carrier operational expense savings will help Lucent, along with the MPLS migration story Lucent can now offer via its partnership with Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR).

The disadvantage? Well, there's always the outside chance the product could be prohibitively late (see It's Christmas Time at Lucent).

Besides WaveSmith, the Lucent CBX 3500 will have other competitors, including edge boxes from Juniper (its new M320) and Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), which is preparing an edge router called Neptune (see Juniper Hatches the M320 and Nortel's Soft Sell).

Lucent was contacted for this story but declines to comment on unannounced products.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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marete 12/5/2012 | 2:19:01 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer
Out of curiousity, is the the Lucent CBX 3500 being developed at Westford, like the now defunct Oz (MSC 25000)? And what happened to the TMX 880? As I recall, the TMX 880 was supposed to be a "cheaper" replacement of the Oz...
ATMRules 12/5/2012 | 2:18:59 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer Put some lipstick on this PIG....The Cascade code is almost 15 years old!!!It uses the same line cards as the CBX 500??? blah blah blah,,,please what is this a bunch of PSAX's glued together...can't wait to see a picture of this baby...I guess I have to wait until summertime......

puddnhead_wilson 12/5/2012 | 2:18:51 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer LOL, yeah anytime it's Lucent & you hear how great it is, & it's "coming out real soon now," you have to wonder. A lot has changed in 6 years, but you have to wonder if one thing hasn't -- Lucent's willingness to freeze customers about to jump ship to Ciena by being overoptimistic about new product schedules/capabilities, or else just plain announcing vaporware. I remember the '98 AT&T move well, and I'm still waiting for "CoreDirector killers" from many vendors. "According to sources familiar with the product" -- would those sources happen to be recipients of Lucent paychecks? :)
Mezo 12/5/2012 | 2:18:49 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer Lucent is headed in a service provider systems integrator direction...anything they try to build is at risk. They are going to do more OEM & resale as time passes i.e. Juniper & Cisco in areas where they cannot compete with enhancements to existing products.

This sounds like an enhancement to the CBX so it may be real and have legs...timing is an issue, but begs the question is the market back or coming back...I think the latter and they are a huge incumbent which means something these days.

So bottom line is that Lucent will marry this CBX+ with a Juniper core, then rap global services around it and win some deals from service providers with time to spare in making edge rollout decisions and are lazy in doing integration.

Nortel is doing the same thing which was mentioned with Avici.

Tellabs with Vivaci & probably another core startup since Juniper is married to all the other players.

As a product the Wavesmith must be a killer to pass Verizion muster...and cheap to...but this is still a box sale...now from a medium sized company instead of a startup.
BlueButtMonkey 12/5/2012 | 2:18:49 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer A more accurate headline would have been:

"Lucent's WaveSmith Killer...Maybe, If It Doesn't Get Killed in Development or the Engineering Team Doesn't Get Laid Off...So Hopefully, Maybe, It Will Be Out in The Summer...and By 'Summer' We Don't Necessarily Mean Summer of 2004, Just A Future Summer"

Isnt't this the third or fourth attempt at a next-gen CBX? LR only mentioned Oz, but what about the failed attempt to turn the almost billion dollar buy of Nexabit into a fancy multiservice device...the TMX 880 (http://www.lightreading.com/do....
Metal 12/5/2012 | 2:18:20 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer Good post Mezo - I agree that LU is most likely headed down the systems integration path (which can be quite profitable). One of my colleagues recently published a similar opinion.

Probably 90% of the real ATM / FR experience fled Lucent in 1999-2001 (to the numerous startups along 495), so I have doubts as to whether they will be able to execute.

I also think it will be very difficult for LU to regain the trust in the RBOCs it lost over the past few years. Not to mention it will effectively be several years behind the Nortels, Ciscos, Cienas in this space.

But a big plus for LU is its installed base which has had amazing staying power despite the lack of a new switch for several years. It will be very interesting to see if LU can come back from the dead.....
I'mRael 12/5/2012 | 2:18:06 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer
Better shark name would've been Dogfish.
silent mariner 12/5/2012 | 2:18:05 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer the rumored purchase of Equipe and the delivery of this product make sense for LU. If LU can help Equipe get the deal with VZ, they can back this box up to the Equipe box for a 1-2 punch. That may help LU regain some of the lost faith from VZ and others.

The delivery timing is interesting. The 10G box has been under development for under a year and a half. the 35G box is a relatively recent effort, as are many of the features in the 10g. I would bet that the box is a work in progress for at least a year.

I wonder why LU got a clue last fall. did a rock fall on their collective heads and wake them up?

silent mariner 12/5/2012 | 2:18:04 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer or hammerhead.
go_to_the_light 12/5/2012 | 2:17:41 AM
re: Lucent's WaveSmith Killer
no matter the fish name, it's still pasta code. unreal they'd try to leverage that pile of snot.
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