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Cisco's COMET Flies With Optical

Cisco Systems Monday padded its metropolitan-area optical networks offerings with the announcement of two new products.

The San Jose, Calif.-based networking equipment giant said its Cisco ONS 15530 DWDM and ONS 15454 SDH Multiservice Provisioning Platform (MSPP) are designed to help consolidate multiple information streams over the same wavelength. Cisco said the products should help pave the way for cheaper voice, video, and data over IP.

Both solutions are part of Cisco's Complete Optical Multiservice Edge and Transport (COMET) portfolio. The offerings support TDM, Ethernet, IP, Storage, and Wavelength services over SDH/SONET and DWDM with integrated bandwidth management and end-to-end provisioning.

"Enterprises have a strong focus on maximizing return on IT investments now," said Dave Dunphy, principal analyst of Optical Infrastructure at Current Analysis. "Metro DWDM and the kind of service aggregation features the Cisco ONS 15330 provide offer the tools to increase bandwidth efficiency to help meet those objectives."

For example, a single Cisco ONS 15530 can multiplex up to 40 ESCON or Enterprise Systems Connection channels over one 10 gigabit-per-second wavelength. ESCON is a fiber optics-based storage protocol prevalent in large enterprise data center environments. Without the Cisco ONS 15530's service aggregation feature, users would need to dedicate a separate wavelength for each ESCON channel.

In future releases, the Cisco said the ONS 15530 would be able to handle multiple higher-speed networking and storage services such as Gigabit Ethernet and Fibre Channel over individual wavelengths.

On the other end, Cisco said its ONS 15454 SDH MSPP mixes digital cross connect functions, add-drop multiplexing, and multiple service interfaces in a single network element. The platform supports a broad variety of service interfaces, including electrical (E1, E3, and DS3), Ethernet (10/100-Mbps and Gigabit Ethernet), optical interfaces (STM-1, STM-4, STM-16, and STM-64), and DWDM.

Both are being sold to telecommunications companies such as Swiss-owned Elektrizitaet Werk Kanton Thurgau (EKT); Quebec's educational telecommunications infrastructure and service provider, Riseau d'informations scientifiques du Quebec (RISQ); and Arizona-based Pinnacle West Capital Corp.

"The Cisco ONS 15454 SDH performs both digital cross connect and add/drop multiplexing; it can handle conversion of signals from electrical to optical in one box, dramatically simplifying optical transport networks by eliminating several separate pieces of equipment," said EKT Information Technology manager Reni Gaus.

The base Cisco ONS 15530 system is list priced at $54,000 and should be available in early July. The company did not release retail information about the ONS 15454 SDH MSPP.

Cisco remains in the pole position for networking equipment, controlling almost two-thirds of the global market for routers and switches that link networks and power the internet.com

But, the company said it still wants to keeping ahead of competitors like Extreme Networks , Juniper Networks and Nortel Networks , which are also working on similar optical networking products.