Optical/IP Networks

Marconi Moons Over Crescent

Marconi Corp. plc (Nasdaq: MRCIY; London: MONI) has opened a new technology development center just north of Boston to develop the former Crescent Networks technology it acquired late last year (see Marconi Buys Crescent Assets).

Light Reading was tipped off about the development following our Boston See Party article about telecom developments in the region. Our source says the facility is developing IP products based on original Crescent technology, and that former Crescent CTO Dr. James Luciani is involved.

Marconi, which bought Crescent intellectual property and some trial boxes for a minimal sum, says it can't confirm or deny the news just now but admits that Luciani is on board.

Crescent raised $66 million and had a few edge router boxes in trials with carriers before it hit the buffers and then closed its doors in early 2003 (see Crescent is Waning and Headcount: Time to Punt?).

Crescent had developed virtual router technology designed for the provision of multiple, secure VPNs, and was competing directly with another startup, Allegro Networks, which also closed its doors early in 2003 (see Headcount: I'll Strike if You Fire Me!).

Before it shut down, Crescent's technology was in trials with six carriers and had fared well in tests at the BTexact Technologies labs.

What might Marconi do with the technology? Heavy Reading chief analyst Scott Clavenna says getting Luciani on board is a good move, but he wonders how Marconi will develop Crescent's technology in a way that doesn't tread on the toes of its edge router partner Laurel Networks Inc.

"It's tough to speculate what Marconi might do that's different," says Clavenna, "though I guess they could develop a product that is focused specifically on helping carriers offer VPNs, and not market it as a multiservice edge router."

Clearly, much has changed since Crescent wound down, but while it was still presenting its virtual routing concept to carriers, it created PowerPoint slides that pitched its solution directly against Laurel's technology and that of another Marconi partner, Riverstone Networks Inc. (OTC: RSTN.PK).

Other vendors Crescent aimed at in its presentation included Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), CoSine Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: COSN), Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), and Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK).

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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firstmile 12/5/2012 | 1:27:04 AM
re: Marconi Moons Over Crescent Luciani went over to Marconi quite a while ago.
Don't you think that the long range plan is to get more routing into the old Fore switches in Pittsburgh? I can't see them going with Laurel as the long-term play.
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