Nortel sees Optical Internet vision ahead

Nortel Networks is moving to position itself as an Internet technology leader, outlining last week the first of a four-stage plan to boost its Internet.

The first is what Clarence Chandran describes as the "Optical Internet", a term he uses to describe the "vision of massive bandwidth" needed for the Internet of the future.

The emergence of DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) technology is what Chandran believes will help achieve the company's goal of producing Internet backbones capable of 10Gbps - the "sweet spot" needed for effective Internet traffic.

Chandran's vision of Optical Network running at 10Gbps, brought about by the use of 10Gbps routers and IP interfaces, is a reduction in Internet restoration times.

As a result, he believes now is the time when infrastructure companies such as data networking vendors and carriers must build the network infrastructure of the future.

The other visions on Nortel Network's horizon is developing wireless networking, Internet telephony and personal Internet communications devices such as hand-held photo diaries.

"Voice over IP could be a high school project, we believe the real business is IP telephony," he commented.

Meanwhile, the most significant inhibitor to the global success of Nortel's Internet vision is the tight telecommunications regulations in countries such as Australia.

Chandran conceded one of Australia's biggest challenges is the "local loop" debate and the difficulty new carriers face obtaining licences and deploying large-scale networks.

As for the future of Nortel, Chandran appeared confident its massive spending on research and development - upwards of $US1 billion each year - will see it dominate the Internet connectivity space.

Meanwhile, he is not concerned about any potential difficulties Nortel will have migrating its massive installed base of PBXs around the world.

The solution, Chandran said, is developing IP interfaces for the PBX to allow it to handle both voice and data traffic.

"PBX in its current manifestation will change," he said.

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