Nortel Goes Gig-E With OPTera DX
Nortel is adding dual Gigabit Ethernet interfaces to the product, which will allow customers to provide 2-Gbit/s Ethernet connections into the switch, which can then send the Ethernet connections over longer-haul Sonet (Synchronous Optical NETwork) and SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy) connections. More importantly, Nortel announced new customers planning to deploy the OPTera Connect DX, including Sunrise a competitive telecom carrier in Switzerland; China Telecom Hunan; and China Telecom Shoaxing (see Nortel to Build Chinese Backbones).
The technology enhancements were by no means earth-shattering; Nortel long ago announced plans to integrate Ethernet capabilities into all of its optical networking products. The Ethernet enhancements are targeted at carriers rolling out Ethernet services, enabling them to plug Gigabit Ethernet into a network running over DWDM or Sonet/SDH.
"You have to do Ethernet," says Mark Lutkowitz, vice president of optical networking research with Communications Industry Researchers Inc. (CIR). "But it's not pure Ethernet; it's Ethernet over Sonet." Concerning customers, it's hard to tell how much the deals will contribute in business terms, because Nortel did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement, nor did it say how many OPTera DX boxes would be involved.
With these deployments, Nortel claims that more than 6,000 OPTera Connect DX optical switches have been deployed worldwide. Depending on configuration, the box typically costs between $60,000 and $300,000, according to Nortel officials.
Tellingly, all of the customers were outside of the North American market. This follows the recent trend of most deals coming in Asian or European markets, where the downturn in telecom spending has not been as steep.
"By far the most interest is in Asia, particularly China and India," says Brian McFadden, president of optical networks with Nortel. "In Japan, there is also a lot of interest in metro." Nortel stock traded down today $0.05 (5.26%) to $0.90, in apparent sympathy with Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), which today traded to an all-time low of $1.07, down $0.19 (15.08%). Last week Lucent announced that it expected another revenue shortfall for the current quarter (see Lucent Drops Its Bottom).
--R. Scott Raynovich, Executive Editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com