RealTime IT News

Networking Jumps Out of the Gate

Networking players took off at Supercomm today, wasting no time in the windy city announcing a slew of new products, services, partnerships and customers.

According to Christin Armacost, an analyst at SG Cowen & Co., in a research note this morning, the trade show should "provide a more positive tone on the telco equipment industry and will provide further evidence of increasing demand for next-gen equipment."

Armacost said merger and partnering is accelerating, with larger companies looking to fill technology holes in their product lineups in several areas, including multi-protocol switching, optical Ethernet and converged broadband access.

Among the companies to watch at this week's show are Cisco , Juniper and Ciena , all of whom are introducing new offerings and taking up significant exhibit space at the show.

While there were no major acquisitions, several large telecom equipment makers and network operators made news.

Level 3 Communications expanded its data networking lineup in the United States and Europe. Working through channel partners, the company's Internet Protocol VPN will be offered to corporate customers.

The Broomfield, Colo., company's move will allow its resellers to offer customers the chance to adopt a single network for voice, video and data services. Large corporations and government agencies are exploring converged networks as a way to lower management costs.

Meanwhile, Nortel Networks notched a new customer for broadband distribution gear.

Red Electrica, a Spanish broadband service supplier operating under the brand name of Albura, will use Nortel equipment to deliver bundled services -- voice, data and TV -- to private-label service providers.

During the next three months, Albura will install Nortel's broadband access services gateway 7720 in 80 central offices across Spain. It will strengthen Albura's wholesale ADSL service offering, in which Internet and content service providers use Albura's network to offer residential and enterprise broadband service.

In a second deal, existing customers Geneseo Telephone Company will be the first customer to deploy Nortel's Calix C7 Ultra Broadband loop carrier. The upgraded broadband access equipment allows Geneseo to deliver voice and high-speed access services.

Nortel, of Brampton, Ontario, did not disclose financial terms for either contract.

Lucent and Juniper , which also have presences at SUPERCOMM, announced a joint customer win today.

Xspedius Communications, an integrated communications provider (ICP) based in O'Fallon, Mo., will use Lucent's Voice over Internet Protocol gear and Juniper's routers to deliver VoIP in the southern United States. Lucent said its take of the three-year pact is worth approximately $35 million.

The collaboration comes a week after industry heavyweights in the space -- Cisco and Nortel -- began discussing a possible partnership.

No formal agreement has been announced. However, an alliance between the two companies could be formidable, said Jay Desai, founder of the think tank Institute of Global Competitiveness, and a former consultant to both Cisco and Nortel.

For Cisco, a partnership would supply more service provider customers, while Nortel would have a route to enterprise markets, Desai said.