NFV Elements

Netsocket's NFV Assets Salvaged by FTTH Vendor

iPhotonix, a fiber-to-the-home equipment vendor, has acquired the NFV assets of failed vitrualization specialist Netsocket in a cash and equity deal, and plans to launch a solution that adds NFV capabilities to its fixed access systems.

iPhotonix believes NetSocket 's assets complement its portfolio of GPON and Active Ethernet ONT (optical network terminal) products, iPhotonix said in a statement. (See iPhotonix Acquires Netsocket NFV Assets.)

The result will be the iPhotonix Virtual Network (iVN) platform, designed to help communications service providers offer enterprise and cloud applications quickly and easily, iPhotonix says.

iVN, which will provide performance monitoring, firewalls, end device management and other applications developed by the Netsocket team, runs on commodity hardware, with a GUI (graphical user interface) management tool that will enable CSPs to build the service templates and business rules needed for the introduction and management of services, according to iPhotonix. (See Netsocket Targets Cisco With SDN Pitch.)

The acquisition was completed March 2. The six-strong Netsocket development team will be integrated with the iPhotonix R&D team in Richardson, Texas, where the FTTH vendor has its headquarters, taking the company's total staff to 40. iPhotonix plans to hire "a few more in the coming month," iPhotonix CEO Amir Elbaz told Light Reading.

Elbaz declined to disclose the terms of the deal. Netsocket is still looking for buyers for its other assets, says the CEO, adding that he only took on a small number of Netsocket's 30 or so staff because iPhotonix only needed NFV specialists.

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So which companies will be on the receiving end of the iVN pitch? Elbaz declined to identify which network operators currently use iPhotonix's products, saying that information is confidential. "We have slightly north of 50 customers, of which several are very large providers in the US, Mexico and the Middle East," Elbaz says. iPhotonix sells to the Middle East and US through partners.

The company does boast Adtran Inc. (Nasdaq: ADTN) as a partner, and it's also working with the Foxconn Electronics Inc. Interconnect Technology business on Tier 1 RFP submissions. There is some significant customer news on the horizon, though, as iPhotonix is set to announce a "major win" with Grupo Televisa, a Mexican Tier 1 provider, in a matter of weeks, Elbaz says.

iPhotonix now has five investors: iPhotonix Holdings, which is owned by a "large family office from Europe"; Israeli investment company Tedea Ltd.; and, following the acquisition, three of Netsocket's investors, namely Silver Creek Ventures , Venture Investors and Trailblazer Capital, none of which were previously investors in iPhotonix.

Netsocket went through a tumultuous life, reinventing itself more times than Snoop Dogg. The company first appeared on Light Reading's radar in 2008, when it focused on developing IP service assurance tools. It relaunched in 2013 as an SDN provider. The SDN and NFV toolset uses code originally developed by core router startup Chiaro Networks (1997-2005); former Chiaro executives founded the company. (See Is SDN Vendor Netsocket Dead? .)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

Mitch Wagner 3/13/2015 | 11:40:42 AM
Re: What will ONT R&D teams? make of that? Vendor stability will be an issue. CSPs wil be concerned about investing in technology that's been through this many changes. 
Duh! 3/10/2015 | 1:59:18 PM
Synergies? Integration of Netsocket and Iphotonix IP raises a lot of architectural challenges.  NFV-enabled ONTs (with or without integrated RGs) apparently break the OMCI + TR-68 paradigm.  What is the value proposition to operators with installed base of GPON, EMS, and OSS?  How about new GPON operators?  How much OMCI will have to remain; what is the functional partitioning; which resources are controlled by which mechanism?   How will OLTs and NFV controllers coordinate? Particularly if the OLT is third-party and not NFV-enabled? 

It would be interesting to be the fly on the wall during those discussions. 
[email protected] 3/10/2015 | 7:12:53 AM
What will ONT R&D teams? make of that? I wonder what the developers of FTTH CPE will think of such a move?

Will network operators/CSPs buy such an integrated system from an ONT specialist?
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