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Optical/IP

Nortel Mixes DWDM With IP

Nortel Networks Corp. today launched its IP/Optical Services platform, which integrates DWDM equipment from its Optera line with its Shasta IP service provisioning platform. According to the vendor, the combination allows service providers to easily offer outsourced services like VPNs (virtual private networks), firewalling, and Web hosting to large enterprise customers directly over high-speed fiber links.

“This is bigger than the individual pieces of the solution,” says Don Smith, president, optical Internet, for Nortel. “We’re bringing together two products to enable service providers to target new revenue streams.”

The key to this announcement is that Nortel claims the two products, the metropolitan-area DWDM product and the IP aggregation product, which were developed separately, will now be managed under one software package: the Nortel Networks Preside services and network management software, which is currently used for Nortel’s optical products.

So is this a big deal? Analysts say it's interesting, but not earth shattering.

“I think businesses would like to be able to outsource more of their applications,” says Brian Van Steen, an analyst in the optical networking group at RHK. “But the big question is: When will the infrastructure be available for them to do that efficiently? I think the Nortel solution could provide a piece of that infrastructure.”

However, integrating management systems from two different platforms so they are managed as one is not an easy task. Nortel's competitors are quick to question how tightly the two products will be linked.

“Everybody claims they can do integrated management, but this looks like just another bundling and positioning exercise,” says Bob Sullebarger, VP of marketing for Spring Tide Networks, which recently announced it was being bought by Lucent Technologies Inc..

The new platform will be demonstrated next week at NFOEC, so visitors can judge the level of integration for themselves.

-- Marguerite Reardon, senior editor, Light Reading, http://www.lightreading.com

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