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Report ranks top vendors’ convergence strategies

Market research firm Heavy Reading today published a 120-page report that analyzes whether the market's six leading...

October 15, 2003  

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Market research firm Heavy Reading today published a 120-page report that analyzes whether the market’s six leading equipment vendors have what it takes to deliver converged networking.

The report, entitled Setting a Course to Convergence, includes in-depth interviews with senior executives with Alcatel, Cisco Systems, Lucent, Marconi, Nortel and Siemens.

It supplements their views with feedback from executives at 50 of the world’s leading service providers, who provide a sounding board for evaluating the strategies of the big vendors.

Author Geoff Bennett concludes that while IP/MPLS is the DNA of tomorrow’s telecom, incumbents won’t succeed unless they build or buy the technology — router partnerships and co-developments are a red herring,

The report also found that:

* Transport and packet networks will remain distinct layers for the coming decade. Vendors with product strategies that assume complete convergence will find sales to large carriers impossible;

* Vendors are split over ATM’s role in the migration to converged networks. Nortel is ATM’s biggest proponent – a strategy that looks increasingly prescient;

* Lucent is abandoning its own convergence products in favor of re-inventing itself as a service organization. It will fail;

* Packet voice transport is happening slowly, posing a challenge for Siemens, which has staked its future on carriers moving to Class 5 replacement now, and

* Cisco defined the convergence market and still leads it, but issues with ATM, OAM, reliability, and VoIP mean its position is not unassailable.

"While the telecommunications industry as a whole is still in turmoil, the overall direction in which it is now headed has become clear," says Bennett.

"Tomorrow’s telecommunications networks will be multiservice networks networks that switch legacy and emerging services across a converged IP/MPLS layer running over a high-capacity optical infrastructure."’

The industry may agree on where it needs to go, he adds, but there is complete confusion over how best to get there.

Further information on the report, which retails for US$3,800, is available at