Nortel Networks will try to breathe new life into its data networking product portfolio when it outlines its Business Optimized Networking strategy backed up by three new products on May 21 at Interop in Las Vegas.
The strategy, built on five building blocks, is intended to help enterprises address the networking challenges posed by changing network traffic patterns, the addition of new latency-sensitive and bandwidth-hungry applications to the network, and growing security and mobility requirements.
"Were focused on creating a network that sustains and enhances those communications tools that are the foundation of todays business. That network provides five key building blocks: converge, extend, mobilize, accelerate, manage and secure," said Aziz Khadbai, general manager of Nortels Converged Data Networks unit in Richardson, Texas.
The strategy and new product offerings are also Nortels way of reasserting its position as the "strongest alternative to Cisco" for enterprise data networks, said Robert Whiteley, industry analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.
"From a portfolio standpoint they are they only vendor that has the same depth and breadth of products. This is their way of saying, Were not just a voice company," he added.
Nortel on top of its "extend" building block will introduce the new Secure Router 4134 for branch offices. As a foil to Ciscos highly popular Integrated Services Router, the product provides switching, routing and security and includes functions to better support IP telephony.
Nortel exploited its Innovative Communications Alliance with Microsoft to include in the new router Microsofts mediation technology, which works with a centralized Microsoft Office Communications System server to deliver Microsoft voice or multimedia communications to the branch office.
A blade that slides into the router implements the functions of the Microsoft Mediation Server. The Secure Router 4134 is due in July.
On its mobilize building block, Nortel will launch a series of enhancements to its WLAN 2300 line of wireless AN switches, access points and management software that better support voice by reducing latency and jitter by up to 90 percent, according to Jake Power, director of marketing for Nortels Converged Data Networks unit in Ottawa.
Nortel rearchitected the new WLAN Security Switch 2382 and WLAN 2332 access points to allow "the APs to prioritize and forward traffic between themselves," said Power. "And they remove the requirement to tunnel all that traffic through a security switch to create a shorter data path." Security is implemented in the WLAN 2382 switch.
The new WLAN switch and access points are due in the third quarter. On its accelerate building block, Nortel will launch the new Nortel Application Accelerator 510 and 610, asymmetric application accelerator appliances that Nortel claims can improve the performance of Web applications over the WAN by as much as 20 times.
Nortel sought to set its application accelerator apart from competitive offerings such as Ciscos ACE by creating custom profiles designed to specifically accelerate traffic from IBM WebSphere, Microsoft Outlook Web Access and SharePoint. It is due May 21.
Nortel earlier this spring addressed its converged pillar with new Ethernet Routing Switch 2500 and 4500, and it will fill out its manage and secure pillar in the second half of this year.