Nortel Bundles Wares into Optical IP Services

Nortel Networks Corp. this week announced a platform designed to enable service providers to offer IP outsourcing services to Fortune 1000 companies.

Called the IP/Optical services platform, the package bundles together Nortel's Shasta 5000 BSN IP subscriber management systems with the company's OPTera Packet Edge optical Ethernet system and its OPTera Metro multiservice optical transport system. It also includes a new Gigabit Ethernet card for the Shasta 5000 BSN that connects that system to the OPTera Metro system.

The IP/Optical system is designed to give service providers the bandwidth and processing speed necessary to deliver IP VPNs to large enterprises without extensive buildouts of customer premises equipment. IP services are traditionally delivered to large businesses through network connections requiring an extensive array of equipment - such as firewall appliances as well as content management and distribution systems - to be housed at customer locations.

The worldwide market for business-class application service provider (ASP) outsourcing in metropolitan areas is expected to grow to US$20 billion in 2003, according to Current Analysis of Sterling, Va.

"One reason the ASP [market] hasn't taken off is speed and bandwidth," says Marie Hattar, Nortel director of product management for IP services. "This platform can provide a fat enough pipe as well as IP processing."

The IP/Optical services system can map IP subscriber management information onto a specified amount of optical bandwidth generated by the OPTera Packet Edge and Metro systems. For VPNs, the system can configure IPSec tunnels based on the subscriber data.

The platform does not yet support Multiprotocol Label Switching or Multiprotocol Lambda Switching for VPNs, but these are future enhancements.

The OPTera Metro component of the IP/Optical system starts at $60,000, while the Shasta 5000 BSN costs $30,000. The Gigabit Ethernet card, which is in beta now but won't ship until the end of the year, will cost $25,000.

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