Optical/IP Networks

Sonet: Who's Ahead in Metro?

It looks as if Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) may regret claiming ownership of the North American OC48 transport market.

Earlier this week, the vendor announced that figures from market research firm RHK Inc. show it to have "captured the number one position in the North American market for OC48 long-haul SONET transport."

Ironically, by claiming to be first in OC48 long haul, Cisco caused some confusion. By its own admission, the Cisco ONS 15454 is not truly a long-haul product, but instead is used to aggregate OC48 connections at the edge of the network and feed them to the core.

By touting its presence in the long-haul space, Cisco only called attention to its continuing lack of OC192 support there, since OC192 is the bigger and faster-growing segment in the long-haul market (see Sonet: Who's Ahead in Long Haul?).

Cisco also inadvertently focused all eyes on the overwhelming dominance of the OC192 market leader -- Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT)

Further, figures for the North American Metro Sonet market just released by RHK show that Cisco's running a distant fourth there with the ONS 15454:

North American Metro Sonet Market RHK's figures also indicate Cisco's far from first in OC48 in the metro space. Indeed, it is fourth there too. Fujitsu Ltd. (KLS: FUJI.KL) is by far the dominant player.

North American Sonet Metro OC48 Cisco's not present at all in metro OC192, RHK says -- although analysts believe that's not a drawback in the metro market. "OC48 will still dominate the metro market in 2004," says Brian Van Steen, WDM and optical networks analyst.

North American Sonet Metro OC192 -- Mary Jander, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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