Nortel aims at Net with optical technology
(IDG) -- Nortel Networks has taken the wraps off of a high-speed optical switching and routing technology that it says will help meet the surging need for band-width on the Internet and relieve traffic congestion.
Nortel said the technology will give businesses and consumers access to delay-sensitive services, which might include videoconferencing technologies, that can't be delivered reliably over today's Internet.
Dubbed the OPTera Packet Solution, Nortel said the technology will unify optical and packet networks into a single infrastructure. It supports data speeds of up to 19 terabits per second for all kinds of Internet traffic, including IP, ATM, and SONet/SDH (Synchronous Optical Network/Synchronous Digital Hierarchy), and will be able to scale to hundreds of terabits per second, Nortel said.
The Brampton, Ontario-based networking and telecommunications equipment vendor wants to be seen as a provider of the data networking equipment behind the fast-growing Internet, an image rival Cisco Systems has nurtured well.
Nortel has said it is launching a global advertising campaign built around the question, "What do you want the Internet to be?" and featuring popular figures such as astronaut Buzz Aldrin and musician Curtis Mayfield.
The OPTera system has five elements:
Nortel said its system allows voice and data traffic flowing over both wireless and wireline networks to be managed in an integrated fashion. It said it will lower ownership costs and make it possible for service providers to offer new services more quickly.
The development of the technology was partly made possible by Nortel's acquisition last year of Bay Networks, which gave the telecommunications equipment company much-needed expertise in the area of IP networks.
Early customers for OPTera include Cable & Wireless Communications and IXC Communications, Nortel said.
Nortel said its optical transport systems currently carry more than 75 percent of backbone Internet traffic in North America. Demand for its optical networking equipment is growing at 56 percent annually, and the market will grow to $35 billion by 2001, according to Nortel.
James Niccolai is senior U.S. correspondent for the IDG News Service in San Francisco.
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