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Nortel Tries to Breathe Life into Network Equipment Line

Nortel has gone through a harrowing series of events in the last six months, culminating in the companys filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. While that event makes buying the companys wares a risky proposition, the vendor unveiled a comprehensive series of enhancements designed to keep the company afloat.Nortel rolled out a series of new and improved products at the Interop show this week. Improved energy management features, enhanced unified communications management, new secure routers, a wireless line, and a unified computing management product were on the docket.

Corporations have been trying to limit their power consumption and Nortel made a couple of enhancements in that area. The companys Enterprise Policy Manager allows enterprises to measure the power consumption on their switches and other network devices. In addition, the Nortel Energy Saver throttles down the switching capacity during times of limited or no activity, cutting as much as 39 percent of their energy requirements during peak hours.

A series of minor improvements were made to three other product lines. The companys Unified Communications Management system now consolidates management, configuration, operations and deployment of Unified Communications solutions. The Nortel Secure Router 2330 integrated routing, security and voice gateway services for small and medium businesses. The companys Wireless Local Area Network 8100 routers support both wired and unwired network elements and the IEER 802.11n standard for 100M bps wireless transmissions.

The most significant new product is the companys VSP 9000 line, which is designed to complete against emerging integrated switch, storage, and server systems, such as Ciscos Nexus and 3Coms S12500. The VSP 9000 features up to 720 10G Ethernet port density per rack and up to 27T bps of switching capacity in a single chassis. However, the product line is not backward compatible with existing Nortel switches and it will not ship for another year  some competitive products are now available.

Nortel has experienced a lot of problems recently. The company has not been able to navigate through rapidly changing market waters. As a result, it has veered in a number of different strategic directions, experienced a great deal of turnover in the executive ranks, and had lackluster financial performance. The company been struggling mightily to turn itself around. The new products illustrate that the vendor is trying to make itself appealing to potential customers s well as whoever eventually ends with its assets. The vendors reputation is tainted, its future is unclear, but it has delivered some products that small and medium businesses may want to take a look at.