Tellabs Builds on 5500 Legacy

Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) has added another member to its family of crossconnects and transport switches, and it has renamed the whole lot (see Tellabs Launches Transport Switches). The move shows how richly Tellabs has benefitted from acquiring a would-be competitor and putting its newer technology to use by refreshing its installed base.

The new product is yet another child of that old stalwart, the 5500 digital crossconnect, and the one-time 5500 killer that Tellabs got when it bought Ocular Networks. It's named the 5500 NGX-MX -- and it's a multi-shelf, beefier version of the Ocular box.

The Ocular box is a single shelf unit, that could be used for, say, interconnecting a Tier 2 carrier's OC12 ring to a larger OC48 ring. The 5500 NGX-MX begins life as an installed Ocular box and can become as large as a four-shelf system that handles up to 2,688 fully protected STS1 connections. The upgrades can be done in-service, or without shutting the Ocular box down to add capacity, says Jeff Schmitz, Tellabs' senior VP of product line management.

More importantly, the 5500 NGX-MX fills the gap between the single-shelf Ocular box and the rather large Tellabs 5500 NGX, which has the gigantic body of the legacy Titan 5500 digital (electrical) crossconnect, but with the brains (optical interfaces, Ethernet-over-Sonet capabilities, and other assorted bells and whistles) of the Ocular box (see Tellabs Unveils Next-Gen Crossconnect).

Now about this renaming business...

To steer folks away from thinking that all Tellabs does is sell old coal-powered crossconnects, the company has tagged each member of its transport switching family with the "NGX" moniker. [Ed. note: Curiously enough, NGX means "earwax" in the language of the San of the Kalahari. Maybe.] The beloved Ocular box, which was called the Tellabs 6400, is now the Tellabs 5500 NGX-S. Also in the NGX clan is the 7120-NGX -- the add/drop multiplexer that Tellabs built using technology developed by White Rock Networks (see Tellabs Invests in White Rock). Unfortunately, while NGX-ing everything, Tellabs also stuck with the "5500" product number, a callback to the Tellabs Titan 5500, its legacy crossconnect with more than 4,000 systems deployed worldwide. Indeed, the company was caught between the rock of remaining familiar to its old-guard carrier customers and the hard place of slapping a legacy name on a state-of-the-art optical networking system.

The Ocular box (or, if you prefer, the Tellabs 5500 NGX-S), has been shipping for a while and now has somewhere north of 20 customers, Tellabs says.

The 7120 NGX is generally available, but Tellabs won't say how many carriers have bought the system. The 5500 NGX won't be finished until next year, as brain transplants are evidently a slow, delicate procedure.

Finally, the new Tellabs 5500 NGX-MX will be available in the third quarter of this year and will be on display at Supercomm 2003.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading

For extensive and up-to-date coverage of next week's Supercomm tradeshow, visit Light Reading's Supercomm Preview Site.

pipesoflight 12/4/2012 | 11:44:05 PM
re: Tellabs Builds on 5500 Legacy As the subject says I like the picture, but what has happened in terms of sales for 2003?

Last round of 42 mill will be consumed very quickly if things don't get better in terms of sales.

Maybe TLAB will eventually get this company cheap. I am skeptical about this though. Hope it works out, honestly!!!!