Sycamore Pushes Gigabit Ethernet

This morning Sycamore Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SCMR) announced support for gigabit Ethernet on both its SN 3000 metro area network switch and its SN 10000 ultralong-haul product.

Sycamore already offers gigabit Ethernet modules for its SN 8000. With these new modules, the company will now offer end-to-end Ethernet connectivity from the edge of the network through the core.

So what's it mean? It demonstrates the creeping power of Ethernet, which is already the standard for enterprise business networks and now appears to have a shot at becoming an important part of wide-area networks used by telecommunications carriers.

“We recognize that carriers may want us in the core and not at the edge or at the edge and not at the core,” says Rick Barry, CTO for Sycamore. “But we have to be able to offer that functionality in each market. And if they want to use us end-to-end they can.”

The company said LDCOM Networks, a European broadband infrastructure provider, has already announced plans to use the Ethernet module in its newly purchased SN 3000 switches and has already begun deployments. Sycamore Networks announced in October that it had signed a multimillion-dollar, multiyear agreement to provide LDCOM with SN 3000 and SN 4000 switches for the buildout of its multiservice network.

The SN 8000's Ethernet module has been shipping since last spring, and Sycamore says that it has already seen demand for the product start to increase. Carriers are using it to connect routers in the core of the network, said Barry. Sycamore's approach may be appealing for pure Ethernet carriers that want to connect metro rings over longer distances, says Alex Benik, an analyst with the Yankee Group.

Basically, the main benefit of using Ethernet rather than Sonet in this application is the cost, says Barry. Sycamore believes carriers such as LDCOM that want to offer both Ethernet and TDM (time-division multiplexing) services will use the SN 3000.

It’s not earth shattering news,” says Benik. “But it shows the importance of gigabit Ethernet in the traffic mix.”

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

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