Alcatel, Others Prep for Spanish Splash

Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) is just one of a number of companies planning to attract industry attention at next week's Broadband World Forum in Madrid with announcements about new products, customers, and, er, IMS strategies (probably).

The French giant is set to lift the lid on its latest hot product, which Light Reading identified as a new optical transport switch several weeks ago after it was put through its paces by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF)'s test lab. (See MEF Rubber Stamps Ethernet Gear.)

Details of the product will be revealed next Tuesday, October 4, at a press conference in the Spanish capital. The vendor is also expected to unveil enhancements to the ISAM access product it announced at last year's event in Venice, with a particular emphasis on supporting traditional TDM voice as well as VOIP. (See Vendors Claim DSLAM Breakthrough.)

But while Alcatel and others might have something to reveal, the biggest concern of Madrid-bound Heavy Reading analyst Graham Finnie is the intervention of the moon on Monday, the first day of the annual event.

The analyst has been told that his Monday morning presentation as part of the "Providing Residential Broadband Services Over an Integrated MPLS and Ethernet Network" workshop session will be interrupted for 25 minutes while delegates file out of the room to witness a solar eclipse.

"I've certainly been heckled before now, but this is the first time I've been interrupted by a heavenly body," says Finnie.

Once all matters lunar are dealt with, it'll be the vendors vying for the delegates' attention. So what does Finnie expect to see this year? "I'm hoping to see reliable IPTV technology at a reasonable price. It's time we saw all the piece parts working together. I'm also expecting to see a lot of companies talking about service assurance and back office automation systems. OSS capabilities for triple play are going to be very important."

Finnie will be paying particular attention to the increasingly important home gateway sector. "I'll be looking particularly for standards-based products that can display reliability and maturity," says the analyst.

Apart from Alcatel, several other companies are expected to have news at the show:

  • Traffic-monitoring equipment firm Sandvine Inc. is strutting its stuff alongside partner Bridgewater Systems Corp., and is promising to announce some business news. (See Sandvine Demos at BWF).

  • Softswitch vendor Italtel SpA is due to announce the identity of a new channel partner that will give it greater access into carrier accounts outside its home European turf. Earlier this year the firm said it was looking for a partner in North America to help it break into new accounts, despite having a long-term business relationship with one of its investors, (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Italtel: We Need US Partner).

  • Access equipment firms ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq: ECIL) and Keymile AG have already broken cover with news of the new IP DSLAMs they'll be showing off in Madrid. (See ECI, Keymile Debut IP DSLAMs.)

  • As well as showing off its new DSLAM, ECI says it'll be demonstrating an integrated "edge to access" setup for delivering video services. Basically, the company will show how its access equipment works with the edge router technology taken on board earlier this year when it acquired Laurel Networks. (See ECI to Buy Laurel for $88M and ECI Shows Off at BBWF).

  • Pirelli SpA's (Milan: PECI.MI) Broadband Solutions business will be unveiling its IP set-top box and broadband access management platform. The new division has already scored a major reference account on its home turf with (NYSE: TI). (See Marconi Unveils FMC Strategy and Telecom Italia Trials IPTV.)

  • (Nasdaq: MRCIY; London: MONI) will be showing off its fixed/mobile convergence capabilities, while (Nasdaq: ERICY) is also promising some news from its fixed products division. (See Marconi Unveils FMC Strategy and Pirelli to Unveil Unit at BBWF.)

  • Access equipment vendor Terawave Communications Inc. will unveil its new broadband passive optical networking optical network terminal (BPON ONT) designed for use in multi-tenant units and office complexes.

    Light Reading will be skulking on the show floor and in the conference sessions. Any good news tips and eclipse photos will be gratefully received at [email protected]

    — Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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