Hoping to penetrate business parks and the multi-tenant unit sector for commercial-class services, Luminous Networks has launched its E-Series PacketWave metro access platform.

Based on the evolving Resilient Packet Ring (RPR) technology, Luminous' new platform is designed to handle Ethernet-based applications while supporting TDM voice and circuit services. That mandate also applies to Luminous earlier M-series (for the metro core) and C-series (for metro access) products.

Because it's compact, the E-Series gear will allow carriers to market a business-class services ranging from T1/E1 TDM voice services, Ethernet private line services and virtual private networks, Luminous said.

On the specifications front, Luminous' E-Series E200 model, at 2-U high, features a dual 1 Gigabit per second RPR ring with 16 10/100BaseT Ethernet ports and four T1/E1 user interface ports. The box also interfaces with the Luminous Management System, a software suite that handles service provisioning, monitoring, event notification and system configuration for the company's PacketWave equipment.

The model's starting price is $19,000, said Luminous Director of Product Management Dale Jantzen, adding that the company is seeing most of its opportunities in North America with incumbent telcos and cable operators.

Jantzen added that Luminous' PacketWave platform will help cable operators break into the small- and medium-sized business market.

Cox Communications already is heading down that road, as it installs a pre-standard version of Luminous' M-Series and C-Series gear in Lafayette, La. Cox purchased the equipment from Scientific-Atlanta Inc., a Luminous reseller.

Luminous has played a key role in the RPR Alliance, a group that's defining standards for the Layer 2 technology. RPR, which is designed to take the best of Sonet and Ethernet and support carrier-class voice and packet-based services, is not yet standardized, but is expected to be by mid-2003.

The RPR Alliance boosted its ranks Monday, announcing four new members: Arris, Ixia and silicon vendors Infineon Technologies and Intel Corp.