Fujitsu Brings Flashwave to Europe
BRUSSELS -- Broadband World Forum Europe 2008 -- Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY)'s European operation has finally raised its head from the BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) 21CN parapet to try its hand in the multiservice transport and WiMax markets on the Old Continent. (See BT Closes 21CN Deals, Touts IPTV and Fujitsu Updates the MSPP.)
Having been "focused on BT for the past few years," notes Tony Oppenheim, COO for Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd. (FTEL), the vendor is now targeting those European carriers that are looking to collapse their current transport networks into one and migrate from SDH to Ethernet (or just build out new networks) with the Flashwave 9500 multiservice optical box that scored an impressive win at Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). (See Fujitsu Confirms Verizon Packet Optical Win.)
The Fujitsu team is hoping that the 1 Tbit/s platform, which houses SDH, reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexer (ROADM), and Ethernet capabilities, will strike a chord with carriers that still generate a lot of revenues from traditional TDM services, but are planning to shift to an increasingly Ethernet-centric topology as increasing data volumes place increasing demands on their metro capacity.
But isn't it a bit late to the game? Rival optical vendors have been pitching multiservice platforms at Europe's carriers for years, and the European flavor of the Flashwave 9500 platform won't be available for lab trials until the first quarter of next year, with general availability by the second quarter of 2009.
FTEL's VP of product planning Simon Rees believes that there are many other players that can offer various technology mixes on their platforms (SDH and Ethernet, for example) but none that can deliver the combination that the Flashwave 9500 offers.
In addition, Randy Eisenach, director of market development at Fujitsu Network Communications Inc. , notes that this is the right time to be introducing a platform that offers native Ethernet transport. "Ethernet over SDH doesn't scale... Connection-oriented Ethernet support is needed," he notes.
That comes in the form of PBB-TE, though he notes that MPLS-TP can also be supported if any carrier customers request it. (See PBT: Alive 'n' Kicking, Transport MPLS Gets a Makeover, and A Guide to PBT/PBB-TE.)
Despite all the features, functions, and capacity, FTEL has its work cut out in a market where it currently has little traction. Apart from the BT account and ongoing work with Verizon's international arm, Verizon Enterprise Solutions , the vendor has little in the way of installed customer base in Europe from which to work. And as Oppenheim notes, the current economic conditions are hardly conducive to striking up new business. "This isn't the easiest time to be launching a new product. A lot of the carriers will be sitting on their hands at the moment," he adds.
But Fujitsu is going to make a play all the same, and isn't just going after new European business with its multi-service flagship. It's also plugging its BroadOne series of WiMax base stations to service providers in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) region. (See Fujitsu Intros WiMax Base Station.)
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading