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RealTime IT News

Tellium Scores Another Big Win

Optical switch-making upstart Tellium, Inc. is making next-generation fiber-optic networking a reality at the speed of light.

The privately held switching solutions provider struck its third major deal to provide a prime player with the ingredients necessary to construct an all optical broadband network.

Qwest Communications International Inc. Wednesday announced it had sealed a multi-million dollar, multi-year strategic agreement with Tellium to support the deployment of its network built on glass.

Under the agreement, Qwest has agreed to purchase Tellium's optical switching equipment. Founded in 1997 by optical experts from Bellcore, Tellium's optical switches will be deployed at the heart of Qwest's all optical network initiative.

Qwest also received certain rights to purchase an ownership stake in Tellium as a part of the deal with the fast-rising equipment firm.

Mike Perusse, Qwest senior vice president of engineering and technology, said the telecom company chose Tellium based on the port-density and high-level of scalability of its optical networking products.

"We believe Tellium is a partner that can keep up with Qwest's leading-edge optical network," Perusse said. "By integrating Tellium's core switching platform into Qwest's global broadband Internet network, we gain network efficiencies and additional resources to provide broadband Internet applications and services with greater performance and reliability."

Harry Carr, Tellium chief executive officer, said the deal was a competitive process and that the firm is delighted to say, "we won."

Carr added that Tellium is actively and aggressively competing for additional business.

Tellium's new Aurora Optical Switch was ready for shipping to high-capacity carriers the first week of this month. The scalable optical switch reportedly delivers 1.28 terabits of capacity with interfaces that range from OC-48 up to an incredible OC-768. The new switch offers a 16-fold increase in capacity over the company's previous model.

In other words, Tellium's latest technology can send larger amounts of data at once and at higher speeds. Because the switch also doubles the density of the equipment, space-constrained communications companies are freed to aggressively outbuild optic networks.

The Aurora line-up faces head-on competition with similar technology from the likes of Sycamore Networks, Inc. , Ciena Corp. , and market leader Cisco Systems, Inc. . Others high-speed companies including Nortel Networks Corp. and Lucent Technologies, Inc. are working feverishly to develop similar equipment.

Tellium stands firm because it is first to market with an optic solution that supports 512 OC-48 connections in its initial configuration. The switch, coupled with its StarNet Operating System and Wavelength Management System provides customers with a migration path from Tellium's current family of Aurora intelligent optical switches to scale up in port counts, bit rates per port, and raw capacity.

Tellium's technology that combines an all-optical bypass switching system with electronic control and processing quickly caught the attention of Cable and Wireless Group , which on Sept. 12 struck a five-year $350-million deal with Tellium.

The Ocean Port, NJ-based company already had an existing $250 million equipment contract since last fall to supply its high-speed technology to