Paragon takes on the

Boldly claiming they have succeeded where the “dinosaur” networking companies have failed, Brookfield, Conn.-based Paragon Networks International opened a Canadian subsidiary less than three weeks before the announcement of its BROADway broadband network access platform.

Paragon CEO Russ Hawkins pointed to the massive layoff announcements from companies like Nortel Networks Ltd. of Brampton, Ont., and added that his company is not only not preparing for layoffs, it’s expanding to meet demand for its products. Those may be brave words in such an unpredictable economy, but Hawkins said he thinks of his company as revolutionary.

Paragon, a manufacturer of connectivity products for wireline, wireless and optical transmission facilities, announced the opening of Ottawa-based Paragon Networks Canada Ltd. at the beginning of March. The new company was set up to continue research and development of IP packet technologies and services to later be used in Paragon products.

And in mid-March, Paragon announced BROADway as a complimentary product to its MASTERseries line of products. Targeted at service providers, BROADway is an optical network access switch capable of 100K packet per second performance, said Dan Tuck, CTO of Paragon. BROADway will enter beta testing by the end of April and will be on the mark between July and September of this year.

“The whole purpose of this device is (as) a transition device for our customers,” Tuck said. “If you look at a wireless network today, it is almost exclusively built out of TDM (time division multiplexing) types of solutions.” As the 2.5G and 3G wireless networks start making their way to market, solutions will be more of a mixture of TDM voice and data, he said. “And that’s what BROADway does; it supports that transition from TDM voice to a mixture of that and data.”

The market for transition devices is evolving, said Dan McLean, research manager, network support and integration, at International Data Corp. Canada in Toronto.

“One theory suggests maybe we’ll just trash the whole thing and start from scratch with the packetized data and IP [technology], but I think the reality is that transition is the way that people are going to go,” McLean said.

According to Insight Research of Atlanta, the market for types of devices like BROADway is worth about US$1 billion right now and will grow to approximately US$5 billion by 2004.

“Our customers are people that historically built their networks to provide wireless voice, and what’s been happening over the last year or so is those customers are very rapidly morphing to become multi-service providers,” Tuck said. “As mobile voice becomes more and more of a commodity, they’re looking for ways to leverage their backbone and their corporate assets to provide additional services to customers.”

He added that many of Paragon’s customers offering wireless service will offer wireline services within the building they occupy.

BROADway will be on the market by September and although pricing has not been finalized, Hawkins said it will be between US$15,000 and US$20,000. Paragon Networks can be found on the Web at