Optical/IP Networks

Movaz Makes Its Milestones

Movaz Networks Inc. is readying a slew of announcements this week aimed at fulfilling early claims to be in full production of its optical switching and transmission package, with customers, by the start of 2002 (see Movaz on the Move, Movaz Makes a Splash, and Movaz Moves Up).

The startup says it's shipping all its announced products and has roughly $20 million in contracts from a half dozen or so service providers worldwide. It's also announcing two supply deals with key integrators in the Asia/Pacific region.

"We now have our full product portfolio in the hands of customers," boasts CEO Bijan Khosravi. "We're one of the first to offer unified dense WDM transport, switching, and intelligent routing."

Here are the highlights of this week's planned rollout:

  • Contract with Syringa Networks LLC. Movaz will supply gear to light a 1,100-kilometer fiber optic network in rural Idaho being constructed by Syringa, a consortium of 12 rural telcos. (The consortium has no Website-- it's unclear whether there's a connection with Syringa Internet Service, also of Idaho.) The Sonet-based network is aimed at connecting businesses, residences, educational and health care providers, libraries, and governmental agencies. Work starts in March and will include all of Movaz's product line (see Movaz Scores in Idaho ).

    Khosravi's not giving the specific value of the Syringa agreement, but he says it's a multimillion-dollar deal. He's also careful to add that Syringa is the first contract Movaz is free to publicize, but it's not the company's only customer.

  • Availability of RAYstar. Movaz says this 320-wavelength box will be its high-end flagship, capable of switching and routing wavelengths based on an early implementation of GMPLS (generalized multiprotocol label switching - see Optical Signaling Systems). The RAYstar supports 2.5- and 10-Gbit/s Sonet connections and supports gigabit Ethernet -- but no 10-Gbit/s Ethernet at this time. "We have not seen significant demand for a 10-Gbit/s transport capability yet," Khosravi says.

    The seven-foot RAYstar bay is the last, and the most important, product in Movaz's portfolio to hit the streets, so news of its full availability is significant for the company. RAYstar is meant to link central offices and points of presence to Movaz CPE gear, called the RAYexpress, a small optical add/drop multiplexer. An amplifier called the RAYextender will help both RAYstar and RAYexpress extend beyond 600km distances. Graphical software called RAYtracer is offered for management and provisioning.

  • Supply contracts in Asia/Pacific. Movaz has signed with integrator CommVerge Solutions for distribution of its wares in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand. CommVerge also distributes products from ONI Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ONIS) and Riverstone Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RSTN}; and it has two investors in common with Movaz -- Oak Investment Partners and WorldView Technology Partners.

    Movaz has signed another deal with Japanese distributor NextCom, which also handles products from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), and Marconi PLC (Nasdaq/London: MONI).

In the world of optical networking, the rare ability to hit a promised deadline deserves kudos. And Movaz has hit several of them. Indeed, since its inception in summer 2000, Movaz's ability to live up to the expectations it sets in terms of product release dates and other milestones has been laudable.

But no good deed goes unpunished, especially in the highly competitive world of next-generation telecom gear. While Movaz is clearly making the right moves, industry sources insist that a company isn't "made" until a major carrier signs on. And so far, Movaz can't show the goods. Indeed, it had a major disappointment, when an early agreement with Genuity Inc. (Nasdaq: GENU) went belly up.

Still, Movaz has more to show for its two years in business than do many other startups, including would-be competitor Meriton Networks Inc., which is also well funded (with $92 million).

And more news is reportedly on the way: Khosravi says both CommVerge and NextCom have sold Movaz products to customers that can't be named. He says a major European carrier is running live traffic to two Swiss banks using Movaz's gear. Announcements of North American trials loom on the horizon. And completion of the vendor's first phase of Osmine certification from Telcordia Technologies Inc. is set for announcement within the next few weeks.

Ultimately, though, Movaz's products will need to meet the acid test of acceptance by incumbent carriers. Any inability to achieve this could eclipse these early successes, and vendors with fewer milestones met could conceivably pull beyond Movaz in the race for choice contracts.

As ever, Khosravi is brimming with confidence. "We will be one of the two companies offering unified transport solutions who will survive," he maintains.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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