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Nortel: We're Back and We're 'Hyper'

LAS VEGAS -- The once proud but lately battered Nortel Networks is back. At least that's what Mike Zafirovski, president and CEO of Nortel, would have attendees of this week's Interop show believe.

In a morning keynote address here, Zafirovski presented his vision for Nortel and the broader networking industry. For Nortel, the key trend is what Zafirovski referred to as "hyperconnectivity," which is a network where everything is connected to everything.

Mike Zafirovski
Mike Zafirovski.
Source: Nortel

A key part of Nortel's hyperconnectivity enablement, Zafirovski said, is that the company is viable once again. He admitted to the capacity crowd that Nortel has a hundred-year history of being a relevant networking company but has had a few problems in recent years. Nortel's CEO then pledged that Nortel has returned and is obsessed with achieving greatness.

Interoperability, which is the backbone of hyperconnectivity, is a trend that has been around for a long time, said Zafirovski. But now it's more a reality than ever before with the convergence of voice, data and video. That convergence is coming with a price though, and that price is complexity.

Complexity is a killer for most businesses, and a key part of Nortel's renewed marketing push is a pledge to make hyperconnectivity easy for all.

Though hyperconenctivity poses challenges to network capacity, security, reliability and cost, it could also create opportunities for productivity, profit and growth.

"Will hyperconnectivity steamroll you or will it propel your business forward," Zafirovski asked.

"We believe that the hyperconnectivity world will be as different as the move from analog to digital -- from wired to wireless," he said. "There are billions of CPUs today that are not connected. Some estimates say that there should be almost 1 trillion network-connected devices in the next 15 years."

Part of the hyperconnectivity message for Zafirovski is a renewed emphasis on research and development, as well as delivering on Nortel's partnership with Microsoft, which is intended to provide joint solutions to enterprises.

"More than 100 customers have signed with Nortel since the Microsoft deal was signed and hundreds more in the pipeline," Zafirovski said.

Nortel has taken its Interop opportunity to roll out new hardware that further takes advantage of its collaboration with Microsoft.

Nortel's Secure Router 4134 integrates WAN routing, Ethernet switching, IP telephony and Microsoft Mediation technology. The goal is to simplify enterprise connectivity by reducing the number of hardware appliances necessary to handle the need of converged hyperconnectivity.

As speed is a critical component of hyperconnectivity, Nortel also announced its Application Accelerator, which will accelerate both Microsoft and IBM applications over the WAN.

"A new Nortel is emerging," Zafirovski said. "Hyperconnectivity is a huge opportunity and we're committed to business made simple."