Nortel Bolsters Portable IP Routing Package

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. (06/01/2000) - Nortel Networks Corp. this week announced a new version of its portable routing code that lets users add network service applications to the software framework.

Nortel's Open IP Environment 2.0 is intended to enhance interoperability among a range of hardware and integrate with a broader array of computer platforms and devices. It does this by unbundling some of the software components - such as routing protocols - and leaving its APIs exposed so users can add features to the framework.

The Open IP Environment framework is comprised of four API sets that let users integrate the software with IP applications, policy and management services, platform hardware and operating system software.

Previous versions of Open IP Environment bundled some of the IP applications, or components, with the framework. This increased the time it took developers to bring Open IP products to market because they would have to "unplug" the components they didn't need, says Kalai Kalaichelvan, Nortel's Open IP general manager. Open IP 2.0 inverts that requirement and reduces time-to-market by letting users add components they need rather than subtract those they don't, he says.

Among the unbundled components are the Open Shortest Path First, Routing Information Protocol Version 2 and Border Gateway Protocol-4 routing protocols, and the IP 4 network protocol. Version 2.0 also offers the SNMP and Nortel's command-line interface for router configuration as plug-in components.

Analysts say Version 2.0 may broaden the market for the Open IP Environment.

"It expands further how Open IP can be applied within different network environments," says Ron Westfall, an analyst at Current Analysis in Sterling, Virginia. "It allows licensees a little more flexibility in terms of how they use the routing code, and to be a little more innovative."

Westfall does not expect Cisco to follow suit with its own portable code, but believes it must eventually open its IOS routing software.

"Cisco understands that IOS would be more beneficially used within an open framework, much like their mantra regarding open telephony," Westfall says.

"The same principle applies to routing code as well. That's a benefit to the whole industry, including Cisco because it will allow them to sell different products within different markets with a great deal more flexibility than they could do today."

Open IP Environment is designed to Internet-enable a range of devices, from servers and network processors to set-top boxes, mobility devices, personal digital assistants and PCs. The software lets users add routing, authentication, security, encapsulation, tunneling, quality of service, policy management, network management and accounting to these devices.

Nortel has issued more than 200 Open IP Environment licenses to more than 100 customers, most recently Samsung's Internet Network Division.

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