Nortel wins optical, wireless pacts

It wasn't all bad news last week for Nortel Networks Corp.

Buried by the announcement of another 20,000 layoffs, another multibillon-dollar quarterly loss and the abrupt departure of its chief executive officer (CEO) were two lucrative contract wins.

SBC Communications Inc. tapped Nortel to be the primary provider of dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) transport gear for two new metro offerings. Under the multiyear pact - the value of which was not disclosed by the companies - Nortel's OPTera Metro 5200 DWDM and 3500 SONET platforms will support SBC's so-called Multi-Service Optical Networking service and Data CPE product offerings.

Nortel's wireless business also got a recent shot in the arm. VoiceStream Wireless awarded Nortel a 3-year, US$300 million contract for equipment to upgrade its national GSM network.

The agreement calls for Nortel to supply radio base station equipment, switching and professional services to upgrade the VoiceStream networks to support high-speed data services, and to enhance voice quality and increase network capacity. In addition to increasing voice quality and network capacity, Nortel's equipment will free up spectrum to support additional subscriber growth and new general packet radio service data services, the companies said.

The contract also includes equipment to support billing and location-based services.

VoiceStream will deploy Nortel GSM equipment and software in Cincinnati; Dayton, Ohio; Rochester; and Buffalo, New York. The networks will be deployed by the first quarter of 2002.

Nortel has announced 12 3G wireless deals in recent months and is supplying GSM/GPRS equipment to 23 operators.

Separately, Nortel and Novera Optics announced that they have successfully conducted interoperability testing of two key components that form a dynamic gain equalizer (DGE) for optical network management. A DGE will enable new services such as on-demand wavelength provisioning, the companies say.

The tests combined the Nortel and Novera equipment, and sought to automatically balance the power spectrum of DWDM channels boosted by optical amplifiers. As further channels are added to a DWDM system, channel powers can become unbalanced. If the channel power imbalance is not mitigated, overall system performance is degraded and service reliability is reduced, the companies say.

The testing showed that the combined Nortel/Novera system is able to monitor and dynamically adjust spectral profiles to correct nonuniformities, eliminating the need for manual intervention and adjustment, the companies claim. The combined system could add new channels in minutes as opposed to the current timeframe of hours or days, the companies say.

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