Summertime an

Maybe it’s just the summertime blues, but there doesn’t seem to have been a lot happening in the networking industry this summer.

No big announcements, no big product releases, no big mergers — well, Lucent’s US$3.7 billion acquisition of network consulting services company INS (please see page 1) and Cisco’s US$6.9 billion purchase of Internet router device maker Cerent Corp. (please see page 3) are big, but to be honest, I’ve had a hard time getting excited about them.

I don’t know what it’s been like in other parts of the country (typical Torontonian that I am), but here in Toronto we’ve had a long, hot, lazy summer that started early in May and seemed to be unending — right up until a cold spell hit mid-August. As autumn approaches, I look back fondly on the longest summer in my memory, but at the same time I eagerly await what the fall networking season has to hold.

And what a better way to get the fall season rolling than NetWorld+Interop in Atlanta, happening next week (Sept. 13 to 17).

For those of you fortunate enough to attend, N+I will feature a wide range of the latest and greatest in networking — terabit and gigabit switch routers, predictive network management technologies, VPN quality-of-service solutions, bandwidth management tools, Fibre Channel storage devices and more. You can find the full schedule of N+I events and announcements at

As noted below in Network World (US) editorial director John Gallant’s column, Intel Corp. is preparing to make a splash in the mid-market networking arena. All indications are that Mark Christensen, vice-president and general manager of Intel’s Network Communications Group, will use his N+I keynote time to outline the company’s strategy.

N+I is also expected to be the official debut of Cabletron Systems Inc.’s Spectrum business unit. The company’s much-praised network management software will be getting a new image and new direction thanks to the hiring of a “brand development” firm that was given the task of coming up with a new look and new name for the business unit by the time N+I rolls around.

The management software itself will probably keep the Spectrum name, but a new marketing identity for the organization is intended to distance it from the parent company. This is necessary because part of Spectrum’s plan is to extend the management platform to non-Cabletron hardware.

Apart from Christensen, N+I Atlanta’s list of big-name keynote speakers will include usual-suspect Richard McGinn, CEO of Lucent Technologies, and Bill Larson, CEO and chairman of Network Associates.

Other N+I happenings of note include Network World (US)‘s own Convergence Showdown. NW (US) senior editor Jim Duffy will be posing the questions to Cisco, Lucent, Nortel Networks, 3Com and Cabletron execs, while trying to cut through the hype surrounding voice/video/data network convergence.

And if you do attend N+I, make sure to stop by the Start-Up City exhibit area. This is where you’ll find the truly innovative networking companies and products. Vendors you’ve never even heard of are developing the next-generation gear and software that will eventually find their way into the majors’ product line-ups.

NetWorld+Interop may just be the best cure for the summertime blues.