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Calient Networks Positions for VoIP

Calient Networks, a maker of photonic switching systems and software, has tacked on an additional $15 million to its fourth round of financing.

The latest round comes as carriers that the company supplies with switching systems prepare for new rollouts of Voice over IP and fiber infrastructure investments.

New investors Wall Street Technology Partners and DuPont Capital Management joined existing backers Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, TeleSoft Partners and Sofinnova Ventures.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company's switching systems are used by large telecoms, research labs, commercial video and governmental networks. It has done especially well in Asia-Pacific and Japan, where carriers may move faster than their U.S. counterparts because of differences in government regulations, said Ron Mackey, Calient's vice president of marketing.

While there's lingering questions about the strength of the overall telecom recovery, high-end optical networking purchases are showing strength because of the rollouts of new initiatives.

One example is Voice over Internet protocol , which is being deployed by most major carrier and cable service providers to consumer and business customers alike.

"VoIP networks have a tendency to have higher churn rates. Connections keep coming and going," Mackey said. "There are a lot of things happening in an IP network that aren't coming into play in a traditional network."

For similar reasons, Calient is encouraged by the commitment of several telecoms to pursue fiber-to-the-premises . Verizon Communications expects to bring fiber to one million homes by year's end. Management of the system will require new systems.

Calient has worked with Verizon in the past but has not been named as a vendor for the fiber rollout, Mackey said.

To date, the company has raised a total of $285 million from a number of firms, including gear maker Juniper Networks .

"This money is earmarked to take us to profitability," Mackey told internetnews.com. "We've been shipping product and generating revenue for two years and now we are ramping production."

The privately held company doesn't release financial figures, and Mackey declined to say when Calient expected to turn a profit. For some high-end switch jobs, Calient, which has about 70 employees, competes with heavy hitters like Ciena , Nortel and Lucent .