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Ericsson and Ciena announce strategic global agreement

February 14, 2014  

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Ericsson and Ciena today signed a tehnology pact involving packet-optical distribution, converged IP/optical joint development and distribution as well as an SDN collaboration framework. 

As part of the agreement, Ericsson will now offer Ciena’s Converged Packet Optical portfolio, including the 6500 Packet-Optical Platform and 5400 family.

According to Ron Kline, principal network infrastructure analyst at Ovum, the deal positions Ciena, based in Andover, Md., as Ericsson’s preferred packet-optical supplier and gives Ericsson access to “Ciena’s coherent optical technology for its SSR, a modern edge router capable of integrating L4-7 applications that should be readily adaptable to SDN/NFV.

“The deal significantly broadens Ciena’s reach, giving it access to Ericsson’s strong global base of customers and its professional services team along with its IP expertise. The agreement gives Ericsson access to Ciena’s strong portfolio of converged packet optical gear that includes its WaveLogic3 coherent optical processing technology.  As part of the agreement the two companies will collaborate on an open-source Layer 0-3 SDN controller.

“Assuming it’s executed well, the deal looks like a win/win for both companies. However, it does signal that Ericsson is admitting weakness in optical networking after three years of developing its SPO product line.

“Ciena is currently the third-ranked converged packet optical (CPO) vendor globally with 14% market share, whereas Ericsson is only ranked 11th with 1% share. The key to the deal is the collaborative SDN effort that combines resources at both companies. The battleground for differentiation is quickly moving to software and professional services. Ericsson is the second-ranked provider of telecom infrastructure services (just behind Cisco) and is number one in the network-related subsegment.”

Gary Smith, president and CEO of Ciena said in a release “as our industry moves toward a more open networking environment, collaboration within an ecosystem of specialists will be critical for innovation. Our SDN-focused joint development activities will enable us to deliver on network transformation strategies that dynamically support changing demands for network-level applications and services.”

The two firms said that the agreement will take effect immediately.

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