Procket's PRO/8801 routers will go into the Tokyo-based IP backbone of Media EXchange Inc., a seven-year-old service provider that caters to businesses. Fujitsu Ltd. (OTC: FJTSY; Tokyo: 6702) is contributing high-end switches to the backbone, and integrator Tokyo Electron Ltd. is helping with the project as well (see Japanese Provider Signs Procket).
Media EXchange is calling the project the "highest performance Internet backbone in the world," but details aren't available to back that up. Among Media EXchange's talking points is the combination of IPv6 routing with the quality of service (QOS) needed to support VOIP traffic. It appears the backbone will be based on OC192 links, says Cary Hayward, director of marketing for Procket.
The contract involves the initial phase of Media EXchange's backbone, expected to take about a month, Hayward says. Procket wouldn't reveal any revenue or unit-sales details related to the project.
As with fellow high-end router vendor Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7), Procket has had to target early adopters, such as universities and Asian businesses. Its announced wins now total seven:
- Media EXchange
- Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARNet)
- National Center for Research on Earthquake Engineering (Taiwan)
- NTTPC Communications Inc.
- Stealth Communications Inc.
- University College London
- University of Cambridge
The list is geographically tilted towards Asia, but Hayward insists Procket is working on deals closer to home. "We have other customer wins in the pipeline, some of them in North America, some in Europe, some in Asia."
Of course, everything isn't sunny for Procket. The company recently lost founder Tony Li and chief operating officer Vito Palermo [ed. note: sheer carelessness!], and it's recently changed CEOs. Reportedly, the company is also completing a $30 million funding round that diluted previous shares' value by as much as 30 percent (see Li Quits Procket, Procket Gets Cisco Exec, and Procket Stuffing Its Pocket.)
Procket also faces potential competition from Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), expected to announce its next-generation router architecture within the next couple of months. Router giant Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has yet to chime in with such a product, although the company's Heavy Fast Router (HFR) reportedly would fit that bill. For now, Cisco officials say their GSR 12000 core routers suffice even for high-end accounts.
"We have staked a claim [in the high-end market] with the products we have today," says Jared Headley, senior manager of product marketing for Cisco's routing technology group.
Cisco won't acknowledge the HFR's existance, but officials are willing to hint there's life after the 12000. "We've shown [customers] things that help them understand what our next product offerings will be. We're just not ready to talk about it," says Headley.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading