WWP Channels Marconi
Here's the deal: Marconi has agreed to help sell WWP Ethernet access gear when it wins a customer for its XCD5000 softswitch. Marconi has been testing WWP's gear alongside its switch for months to make sure it meets stringent voice delivery standards, according to Chad Whalen, the senior VP of business and market strategies for WWP.
Marconi will have a sales referral agreement for the WWP premises gear known as the LightningEdge Access Portal, which has up to eight 10/100-Mbit/s Ethernet connections for PCs, IP phones, or other appliances. Upstream of those devices sits WWP's LightningEdge Access Concentrator, which aggregates up to 24 10/100-Mbit/s Ethernet connections, from either Access Portals or other Access Concentrators.
In a triple-play scenario, the WWP Access Concentrators would pass voice, video, or data traffic to Marconi's softswitch or any number of media gateways, depending on the carrier's need.
"We have a couple of mutual deployments of significance that are yet to be announced," says Whalen. He adds that Marconi and WWP have been working on joint deployments for more than a year and signed a formal referral agreement in May.
Whalen says the Marconi/WWP pairing came about because of a carrier customer's request. Marconi held a bakeoff of sorts amongst Ethernet access players, and WWP claims it beat i3 Micro Technology AB and "several others" in the contest.
Marconi is playing up its softswitch capabilities in earnest these days, following its rejection at BT's 21CN (see Marconi in Turmoil). The company has been restructuring itself but hasn't hit on any large-scale softswitch wins, and it lost a key battle on its home turf (see Marconi: M&A Moves Next?).
Which brings up a point: Marconi is likely seeking further partners, as it has stated a goal to have a range of triple-play parts. Such a strategy would be very similar to how Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) is packaging its softswitches, gateways from General Bandwidth Inc., and other gear as a sort of central-office makeover for North American carriers (see Siemens Gets Closer to Gen Band).
In this case, Marconi isn't investing in WWP. And WWP will still support its own sales -- even the ones that come through the Marconi referrals, according to Whalen.
Whalen says, while there's no exclusivity to the partnership, WWP is the "certified active Ethernet vendor of choice" for Marconi.
Marconi softswitch officials couldn't be reached for comment for this article.
— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading