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Nortel Jumps on CWDM Wagon

Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) is the latest of several vendors to proclaim CWDM (coarse wave division multiplexing) as a new feature for enterprise use -- raising questions about this rising trend in optical marketing (see Nortel Enhances Metro Portfolio).

As a "cheap and dirty technology" in the enterprise -- possibly for storage applications -- CWDM has a familiar ring to it. Indeed, CWDM has been offered as a multiservice transport option for months by a growing number of suppliers (see CWDM Products Proliferate). Typically, the phrase for "carriers and enterprises" is part of the pitch.

But Nortel says there's something new here. Specifically, it's offering compatibility between the CWDM wavelengths used on the OPTera Metro 5100 multiservice platform (which already has CWDM) and its Passport 8600 Ethernet Routing Switch. The two boxes can now share the same optical link, whereas previously there was no easy way to funnel enterprise Ethernet traffic from the Passport to the 5100's optical channels without extra hardware and costly fussing.

Nortel's CWDM additions offer eight protected wavelength connections for corporate traffic ranging from 16 Mbit/s to 2.5 Gbit/s.

Nortel has also added a new standalone, environmentally hardened filtering unit designed to aggregate multiple CWDM channels from various 5100s in the basements of multitenant buildings or other enterprise locations, linking them to carrier services in the street or at the nearest point of presence.

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