Turin Turns Up

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Just when you thought the multiservice provisioning platform (MSPP) market couldn't get any more interesting (or crowded), a company called Turin Networks Inc. has appeared -- ta daaa!-- seemingly out of nowhere, with three new boxes and some early interest from at least one RBOC and two IXCs (see Report: Multiservice Is In).

Turin chose the lacklustre Supernet show here in Santa Clara this week to take the shroud off of its Traverse product family, which combines a Sonet add/drop multiplexer, a digital crossconnect, and edge switching capabilities. The product family is made up of the Traverse 2000, a 20-slot system for the metro core or high capacity metro edge; the Traverse 1600, a 16-slot system for metro access to metro edge applications; and the Traverse 600, a six-slot system designed to sit in office buildings or on the metro access ring.

Turin says that by using its platform, service providers can deliver OC3 to OC192 Sonet, DS1, DS3, and gigabit Ethernet services from the same box.

The question is: where did they suddenly appear from? The Petaluma-based company was actually founded at the end of 1999. Since then, its team has been keeping its collective head down, developing a product that "doesn't take any shortcuts on Sonet or Ethernet features," says Richard Stanfield, the company's cofounder and VP of sales.

Stanfield claims Turin's slow but steady R&D approach has resulted in a device that supports a full slate of Sonet and Ethernet capabilities and standards -- including Unidirectional Path Switched Ring, Bidirectional Line Switched Ring, Automatic Protection Switching, ITU G.707 virtual concatenation, ITU X.86 Ethernet over Sonet... yadda yadda yadda (full details are available on the vendor's Website).

He says that Turin's competitors, the ones that brought product to market more quickly, had to sacrifice functionality to do so -- and are passing off Sonet-lite and Ethernet-lite.

An early win with an RBOC helped shape Turin's outlook on product development. "It's all about being compliant with [an incumbent carrier's] operational model," says Steve West, VP of systems and architecture. "They need new products that will dovetail with what they've already got."

Turin also sees itself in a good position because it built its own switching fabric from scratch, using home-grown ASICs, says Stanfield. "You cannot survive by using merchant silicon," he contends. "You just can't."

Turin's main competitors include Cisco Systems Inc.'s (Nasdaq: CSCO) ONS 15454 platform, Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. (FNC)'s Flashwave 4500 box, Nortel Networks Corp.'s (NYSE/Toronto: NT) Metro 3500 box, as well as startups such as Ocular Networks (now part of Tellabs Inc. [Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA]) and Metro-Optix Inc., though Stanfield adds that he considers Metro-Optix a competitor less because of its product's capabilities than because of its new CEO (see Metro-Optix Drafts New CEO).

Though the company is one of the last in this space to rear its head, its story is more compelling than several that have come before it. Companies like Geyser Networks and Mayan Networks paid the price for rushing to market with nouveaux Sonet/Ethernet platforms that scrimped on features -- especially after their target market (startup local exchange carriers, or "cheap-LECs") started dropping like flies.

Turin claims the shakeout among next-gen Sonet players has worked in its favor. "The bubble burst and cleared the market out nicely. Before, there were too many players. Customers were confused," says Stanfield.

Still, some observers point out that Turin will face a tough time displacing existing equipment from other vendors in carrier networks. "If you are a startup, you need to be orders of magnitude better than the incumbent [equipment provider]. The incumbent just has to be as good as you, and they will keep the business," says Romulus Pereira, president and chief executive officer of Riverstone Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RSTN).

The company is backed by $72 million in venture capital from investors, including Sequoia Capital, Baker Capital Corp., Van Wagoner Capital Management, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., Pivotal Asset Management, Advanced Fibre Communications Inc. (AFC) (Nasdaq: AFCI), and several individuals, such as Don Green, AFC's chairman.

The company isn't pulling in revenue from its trial customers yet but says it has landed several small deals with independent telephone companies that aren't part of the Bell System. Such phone companies usually serve rural areas, are funded by their respective states, and are more willing to check out new technology than are larger phone companies. "They're not worried about someone taking away their business. They're worried about looking better and providing better service than the RBOCs," says Stanfield.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, and Stephen Saunders, Founding Editor, Light Reading
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etherguy 12/4/2012 | 11:02:01 PM
re: Turin Turns Up i am pulling for turin. don't know a soul there but god knows our industry needs a win or two. let's hope they don't get complacent and sit back, hoping to get bought. let's see them take this thing all the way.

supporting sonet is going to be the difference for a lot of startups, unfortunately. status quo doesn't equal profits but carriers just ain't gonna rip it out and we need to get used to that.
The Voice of God Box 12/4/2012 | 11:02:00 PM
re: Turin Turns Up And no doubt (as usually) you have hard facts to back your statements up???
HarveyMudd 12/4/2012 | 11:02:00 PM
re: Turin Turns Up We have all seen sensational product announcements from many vendors. This appewars to be one of those sensational announcements. Any significant carrier would not buy a product from a start-up. Many companies had announced similar products but the market is not ready for MSPP type of products.

It appears to me that VCs are hard at work to create something out of nothing.

Mayan Networks had collected over 90 milion dollars and also had announced a number of trials and customers.

With over 200o Telcos, it is very easy to say that their product is being tried by one of the carriers, but close examination reveals a different story.

There is nothing new in this product except the press release.
dietaryfiber 12/4/2012 | 11:01:59 PM
re: Turin Turns Up I think the actual state of affairs is that they have an OC-48 solution today that is in some small field applications in the IOCs. I think there is lab interest in their products with the larger carriers.

I think with all products in this state it can be imagined that it is not bug free.

I know many people at Turin and have a tremendous amount of respect for John Webley. He is a very smart man, who should never be underestimated (he has had one successful startup already). He and they admit they have a long journey in front of them. However, he has certainly outlasted Greg Peters (local Petaluma stuff here).

dietary fiber
gea 12/4/2012 | 11:01:57 PM
re: Turin Turns Up Ah Harvey Muck...

What's the Cisco 15454 but an MSPP? What were the revenues generated by the Cerent line this last year? Well over a Billion, no?

Not only are carriers "ready" for MSPPs, any new SONET gear going into their networks (including Fujistu, Cisco and others) are arguably already MSPPs. An MSPP is simply a fancier, more efficient SONET platform that supports data a little more nicely.

Harvey Mudd: you are one of the least informed, out-of-your-ass posters I have ever seen anywhere. You really seem to know just about nothing about any of the fields you comment on. Why do you bother? Aren't you even a little embarassed, or do you simply refuse to go look at reality and so are able to convince yourself that your posts have some vague relationship to it?
HarveyMuddSucks 12/4/2012 | 11:01:55 PM
re: Turin Turns Up Harvey, you idiot!
Again, you astound me with your stupidity and absolute lack of scope. How do you think companies like Cerent, Ciena, AMD, and every other corner stone of the technology industry began? They were start-ups! To state that no carrier will buy from a start-up is ludicrous. Stick to engineering, hopefully your better in that department than you are with business.
Keep it quiet, and give everyone a break...
The_Holy_Grail 12/4/2012 | 11:01:55 PM
re: Turin Turns Up Seems you have lots of respect for Webley, but not so much for the others in the startup arena. Do you believe Turin will be the only one to survive the startups up in your area? What do you know abouth the others and their management?
William F. Letcher 12/4/2012 | 11:01:54 PM
re: Turin Turns Up nice handle.
let-there-be-light 12/4/2012 | 11:01:54 PM
re: Turin Turns Up Please go easy on Harvey.
I don't always agree with him either, actually most of the time I don't, but...
Calling him an idiot really doesn't help.

optical_man 12/4/2012 | 11:01:53 PM
re: Turin Turns Up HarveyMudd,
Are you laid off? Do you work? I wonder if your internet access was cut off at work, would you be more productive? You seem to lurk around here bashing everything. You have an opinion on Everything. Do your colleagues not listen to your valued opinions? If they did, would your outlook change?
Bashing startups is like saying the British Empire is brilliant (circa 1890) and all those other startup countries are junk. And what happened?
Try this, say "I will not surf at work for 3 weeks". Can you?
On another note, 80% of all restaraunts fail. Guess we should all just go to McDonalds for all our meals, as this is a LARGE company, therefore has the best value for us....
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