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Nortel evaluates bids for metro Ethernet unit

Thu, 12/18/2008 - 7:35am
Brian Santo

Nortel touted advancing the development of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) transport, even as news exploded through Canadian newspapers that Nortel has received bids for its Metro Ethernet Networks operation.

The Globe and Mail said Nortel has received bids for the business unit from three companies. The paper cited four companies likely to be interested: Cisco, Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Siemens.

Nortel is still righting itself after an accounting scandal in 2004. The recession is making that process more difficult, and the company has had to entertain the possibility of bankruptcy. Earlier this year, Nortel said it may consider selling assets.

Even as news of the bids broke, Nortel said it has demonstrated, with partner Ixia, the ability to run 100GbE traffic over a single 100 Gbps wavelength. Thus far, 100 GbE has typically been achieved by aggregating 10 GbE connections.

The problem with this approach, Nortel explained, is that it increases the cost and complexity of the network because of the multiple components, switches and interfaces required. 100 GbE, delivered over a single 100G optical wavelength, will allow operators to meet bandwidth demands delivering 10 times the capacity of today's networks in a more simple and cost-effective way.

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