News Briefs

Metro spending to increase fivefold

Due to the need to replace an aging copper infrastructure and its low-speed links, spending for metropolitan-area network products and services in North America will grow 552 per cent over the next four years, Infonetics Research Inc. of San Jose predicts. Metro product and service expenditures in the U.S. and Canada will grow from US$420 million this year to US$2.7 billion in 2006, according to data compiled by the research firm. Product expenditures will grow 273 per cent in that time period, from US$105 million to US$392 million, while spending on services will balloon 646 per cent, from US$315 million to US$2.4 billion, the firm states in a recent research report. Infonetics’ data is based on responses from officials at 80 organizations that plan to connect their sites with new metro access services by January 2004. All respondents are from organizations with an average workforce of 8,200 and are responsible for product and service purchases, Infonetics says.

Microsoft to set up Enterprise Partner Group

Microsoft Corp. is poised to establish an Enterprise Partner Group that will focus its energies on bringing several preferred partners into closer proximity to the Redmond, Wash.-based company’s overall operations by offering more support to these outfits. The group, which at press time was set to be established on July 1, 2002, will be responsible for liasing with the company’s managed enterprise partners, including systems integrators, independent software vendors, large account resellers and direct market resellers. The undertaking is the first organized unit of its kind in Canada and is expected to consist of 25 account managers. In the U.S., a managed partner group has already been created.

10 gigabit Ethernet approved

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.’s 802.3 Ethernet standards group approved the final draft of the 10 gigabit Ethernet standard last month, clearing the way for vendors to begin shipping non-proprietary 10G bit/sec products. While products based on 10 gigabit Ethernet technology have been on the market for almost a year, the official go-ahead gives enterprise firms and carriers assurance that products based on the standard can easily interoperate – the hallmark of Ethernet technology, standards crafters say. The latest iteration of the Ethernet standard, 10 gigabit Ethernet moves data over single- and multi-mode fibre 10 times faster than the current gigabit Ethernet standard, with a range between 65 metres and 40 kilometres.

Alcatel adds to DWDM system

Alcatel SA last month announced the availability of a so-called “4xAny” feature on its 1696 Metro Span dense wavelength division multiplexing system. The 4xAny feature is a service concentrator for the metropolitan area network (MAN) system that enables the grooming of different services into one standard SONET/SDH signal. This lets service providers deliver a mix of services – such as digital video, IP, Enterprise Systems Connection/Fibre Connection, Fibre Channel, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet – while reducing the cost per single service transported, Alcatel says. The 4xAny feature combines up to four services for transport to a customer’s premises over a single 2.5Gbps SONET/SDH channel. Alcatel says this allows for bandwidth optimization and secure transmission.

Check Point announces products for Wireless Initiative

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. is certifying that its VPN products work with specific wireless products so network planners don’t have to worry about interoperability when they are designing wireless security. The company last month announced two new programs as part of its Wireless Initiative: one that certifies wireless handheld devices to work with Check Point VPN-1 and SecureRemote software clients, and one that certifies wireless network gear also will work with Check Point products. So far, the Wireless Initiative has certified the following handhelds and mobile devices: Hewlett-Packard Co. iPaq PDAs, IBM Corp.’s ThinkPad laptops, Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Powered Pocket PC 2002 devices and Smartphones 2002.