Optical/IP Networks

White Rock: Heavy Metal?

White Rock Networks, a Dallas-based optical networking company that's managed to stay stealthy for the past eight months, today announced its plan for attacking the metro market (see White Rock Networks, Inc.).

Ready for this? It's a next-generation Sonet box.

White Rock executives are pitching their system as a super-dense Cisco killer. Cisco Systems' ONS15454 is the most successful product in the red-hot market for next-generation Sonet products. The market is so hot, in fact, that it's being coveted by a number of competitors such as Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK) and Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN) -- through its acquistion of Cyras -- as well as legacy Sonet leaders such as Fujitsu Ltd. (KLS: FUJI.KL) and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU).

"It's the smallest, lowest cost, most intelligent Sonet product on the planet," says Lonnie Martin, White Rock's CEO. Martin hails from ADC Telecomunications Inc. (Nasdaq: ADCT), where he was president of the broadband business group.

How small? When configured to handle 11 OC48 (2.5 Gbit/s) connections and 528 DS3s (45 Mbit/s), White Rock's product, the VLX2010, takes up half the space of either Cisco's 15454 or Cyras's K2 product, according to Martin. The base unit, an OC48 Sonet ADM, fits in one standard telecom rack unit, which is 12 inches deep, one and three-quarter inches high, and 19 inches wide.

What's the catch? The product isn't shipping yet, and the company is in the precarious position of seeking Series C financing in a miserable financial climate. Martin says White Rock, which last year raised $46 million in funding from Oak Investment Partners, Mayfield Fund, Meritech Capital Partners, and Hook Partners, has enough money to get the product developed and in carrier trials by June. It plans to ship the product in August or September of this year.

-- R. Scott Raynovich, executive editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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