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Nortel Enters Edge Router Sector

Nortel is ready to battle Cisco, Alcatel, Juniper and Laurel on the metro edge with the release Monday of a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) edge router that provides switching capabilities.

The edge router sector is beginning to emerge as a battleground for carriers. Currently, Cisco commands the largest market share in the sector, but companies like Juniper and Alcatel (through its acquisition of TiMetra in May 2003) are trying to dethrone Cisco as the leader. Nortel is entering the fray with the release of its Multiservice Provider Edge (MPE) 9000 family.

The 9000 devices, which were known as the Neptune project inside Nortel, are converged Layer 2/3 boxes that deliver router and switching capabilities. These systems, which are powered by NextHop's GateD routing software, can be configured to handle IP, virtual private line service (VPLS), MPLS, and broadband remote access server (B-RAS) services.

"Through the 9000 family, we can provide one converged edge," said Sue Spradley, president of Nortel's Wireline Business Unit. "This system can converge L2/L3 services into one service platform."

Convergence isn't the only benefit that Nortel is touting with its 9000 family. The company has also designed the system to deliver the reliability requirements demanded by today's carriers.

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