Nortel Networks Corp. is readying a high-end switch for service providers that could improve Web site and network application uptime for firms that outsource their hosting operations.

The company’s Alteon 780 series Web switch, which is the first evidence of integration between Nortel’s hardware products and those of acquisition Alteon, will likely be installed in large Web-hosting sites. The switches, which boast more than twice as many Fast Ethernet ports and almost double the Gigabit Ethernet ports of current top-of-the-line Alteon devices, are designed to sit in front of Web servers and distribute requests for content among those servers based on availability or traffic load.

The switches should let service providers handle more traffic on behalf of outsourcing customers more efficiently, which should translate into Web sites and hosted applications that respond to customer requests more quickly. The switches also should appeal to a broader range of service providers, which means companies may have more providers to choose from for their outsourced operations.

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