Luminous is best known for supporting Resilient Packet Rings (RPR), but the company counts itself among the ranks of multiservice provisioning platform (MSPP) vendors. The distinction is that Luminous – like Atrica Inc., PacketLight Networks Ltd., Riverstone Networks Inc. (OTC: RSTN.PK), and others – is a data-services play, focusing on Ethernet capabilities. Most MSPPs come from a heritage of Sonet transport, as noted in last year's Heavy Reading report, "Multiservice Provisioning Platforms: Empowering the Metro Edge" (see Heavy Reading Spotlights MSPP Split ).
In that sense, Luminous is joining the trend of low-cost MSPPs. During Supercomm in June, vendors such as ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL), Marconi Corp. plc (Nasdaq: MRCIY; London: MONI), RBN Inc. and Transmode Systems AB began showing off pizza-box contraptions aimed at the customer premises, trying to bring the traffic-converging power of an MSPP to the fringes of the network (see ECI Merges WDM With MSPP, Marconi Scales Down Its Edge, RBN Launches Multiservice Platform and Transmode Branches Out).
"I was thrilled at Supercomm to see everybody talk about a $10,000 micro-MSPP, because I knew we were about to halve that," says Bill Osborn, director of product management.
Luminous's latest boxes are the E110, which comes with four Fast Ethernet ports, and the E150, which adds four T1/E1 interfaces. Each sells for around $6,000.
Heavy Reading analyst Scott Clavenna noted the "micro-MSPP" trend in a recent message board posting. The key isn't just the low price, he said, but that a box that small offers key Sonet improvements such as virtual concatenation, link capacity adjustment scheme (LCAS), and generic framing procedure (GFP).
Clavenna noted an even lower price target for the micro-MSPPs, saying most of them sell for less than $7,000.
The push to the edge is driven partly by the rise of applications such as VOIP, which is creating upgrade demand in smaller accounts. The E100 line "doesn't necessarily expand our market, but it expands the customers that our customers are able to attract," Osborn says.
The low-cost trend isn't completely devouring the sector, though. Corrigent Systems Inc. has noticed the interest in customer-premises appliances and has considered building such a box, but it hasn't announced anything yet. "Where we're getting traction is with our larger, higher-density metro-core products," says Corrigent director of marketing Mannix O'Connor.
The E100 series is shipping, and Luminous claims to have a $1 million backlog for the products.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
For more on this topic, check out:
- The Heavy Reading reports:
— Multiservice Provisioning Platforms: Empowering the Metro Edge
— The Future of Sonet/SDH
For further education, visit the archives of related Light Reading Webinars:
- RPR: Ready for Prime Time
- RPR: Ringing the Bells
- Next-Gen Sonet: Beyond MSPPs
- Integrating WDM, Sonet, and SDH in Metro Networks
- GFP Systems: Enabling the Multiservice Edge
- GFP Chips: Making Sonet/SDH Systems Safe for Ethernet