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Packet core

Luminous Crew Gets Brilliant

CHICAGO -- NXTcomm -- Executives of the former Luminous Networks have founded a startup targeting the esoteric area of network timing.

Brilliant Telecommunications Inc. (get it? Luminous? Brilliant?) made its debut at CTIA in March and followed that up with a booth at NXTcomm this week. The company has a staff of about 30 and raised $7.1 million in Series A funding early this year from Asset Management Co. , Draper Richards LP , and Onset Ventures .

Luminous founder Charles Barry started Brilliant Telecom about two years ago. On board are about a half dozen former Luminites, including VP of engineering George Zhao and VP of marketing Link Verstegen.

You'll remember Luminous as a proponent of Resilient Packet Ring (RPR), a standard crafted to squeeze more bandwidth from Sonet/SDH rings. The buzz around RPR faded with the telecom bust, however, and Luminous closed its doors. Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) still sell Luminous's RPR technology, Verstegen says. (See Luminous Still Twinkles.)

So how'd they go from RPR to this seemingly obscure issue of timing? "One of the main pieces of our version of RPR was that we could carry better-than-Sonet timing," Verstegen says.

In TDM networks, data is transmitted along with timestamps. But as networks move to IP and Ethernet, that sense of timing is lost, since a packet network doesn't require the strict time divisions needed in a Sonet or T1 line.

That's presenting problems in wireless backhaul, for example, as carriers try to put Ethernet to use. It turns out lots of applications and services rely on the timestamp provided in TDM.

"This stuff has been taken for granted, and now people are having to scramble," Symmetricom Inc. (Nasdaq: SYMM) senior vice president Gurdip Jande told Light Reading in October. "This has caught them by surprise."

Likewise, applications like VOIP and IPTV can benefit from timing. The technology can help indicate what sequence the packets go in, since it's possible for IP data to arrive out of order. Timestamps can also help in keeping track of jitter and latency.

Symmetricom, which sells various timing and synchronization products, racked up "significant sales to major carriers" last year, Jande claimed. The only one disclosed so far is Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T). (See Telus Picks Symmetricom.)

"Symmetricom is certainly the gorilla in this space," Verstegen says. "But they don't really have an end-to-end network solution today."

Brilliant intends to counter Symmetricom by offering timing appliances that can talk to each other, providing some redundancy in case one goes down. The idea is to create a network of shared timing information, as opposed to offering isolated timing appliances, Verstegen says.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

metroman 12/5/2012 | 3:06:20 PM
re: Luminous Crew Gets Brilliant It's only a matter of time before they run out of money - if the Luminous marketing is anything to go by these people cannot see the wood for the trees. I sat on many industry panels with Luminous people and they had the most rediculous arguments. Simply with nothing to back up their claim, everything seemed to be possible with RPR.

I am sure the VCs are asking questions about a failed team joining.... RPR was a dead duck from the start (ask anyone who tried to run an IP protocol over it) and this interesting idea could go the same way unless they find something compelling to talk about.

Metroman
Smoke&mirrors 12/5/2012 | 3:06:17 PM
re: Luminous Crew Gets Brilliant Luminous had more founders than Charles Barry. No one at Luminous knew George Zhao. He never worked for Luminous. Link was fired from Luminous for poor performance. Most of the Luminous team that matters is at Adtran or Cisco.


> It's only a matter of time before they run out of money

With Charles Barry as CEO I won't be surprised.

>if the Luminous marketing is anything to go by these people cannot see the wood for the trees.

Luminous had 3 or 4 VPs of Marketing. Its story changed with every VP.

>I sat on many industry panels with Luminous people and they had the most rediculous arguments.

You mean Charles Barry don't you? Other than him Luminous didn't make half as ridiculous claims as the other companies in optical in those days.



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