Lucent kills next-generation ATM switch

Lucent Technologies Inc. is discontinuing development of its next-generation ATM multiservice switch in an effort to trim its product portfolio as part of a restructuring plan to return to profitability.

The MSC 25000 was announced in June, was slated to go into beta this month and ship by the end of the year. It was positioned as a follow-on to Lucent's GX 550 and CBX 500 switches, which are at least 3 years old (Lucent upgrades multiservice core).

Lucent is now developing an IP/MPLS switch for the multiservice core to replace the MSC 25000. Lucent, the leading vendor of ATM switches for service providers, is essentially acknowledging that the replacement of ATM with IP/MPLS as the technological underpinning of multiservice networks is approaching faster than expected.

This is a sharp reversal from the viewpoints voiced by Lucent officials in June, when the company introduced the MSC 25000. At that time, Lucent officials said the rationale for the MSC 25000 was a desire on the part of service providers to go "back to basics" by converging multiple networks with an ATM core.

Nonetheless, the MSC 25000 was designed for an eventual migration to IP/MPLS, so the decision to discontinue the switch is somewhat curious.

"We've had to reset priorities and make difficult decisions to maximize the opportunities with our large service provider customers," a Lucent spokesman says. "During the past few months, we've seen greater interest from customers who want to grow their existing Lucent multiservice networks through a high-speed IP/MPLS core that has quality-of-service. As a result of our review, we are ending development of the MSC 25000 and have made a strategic decision to develop a new multiservice platform that will deliver the capabilities customers require sooner than would have been available on the MSC 25000."

This new multiservice platform, which Lucent will announce later this year, is believed to be based in whole or in large part on the Nexabit NX64000 router Lucent obtained from its acquisition of Nexabit Networks 2 years ago. The spokesman would not confirm this, however.

Details on the migration strategy, including investment protection and trade-in incentives, for customers moving from the GX 550 and CBX 500 products to this new platform could not be learned by press time. The Lucent spokesman also declined to immediately disclose the number of people working on the MSC 25000 project and what their new role, if any, within Lucent will be.

While conceding that the future of multiservice provisioning is in IP/MPLS, the interesting twist is whether Lucent will still be around when IP/MPLS overtakes ATM as the foundation of these networks. Lucent is slashing jobs and product development projects as it looks to return to profitability next year. It's experienced several quarters of huge losses amid missed market opportunities, reduced customer spending and the overall downturn in the economy and the telecom industry in particular.

After the latest round of firings, Lucent will be less than half the size it was a year ago (Lucent undergoing painful revamp).

The company is also selling off chunks of itself in an effort to raise cash, and is focusing squarely on selling to the 30 or so largest service providers in the world.

The MSC 25000 was designed to scale from 320G bit/sec to 2.5 terabit/sec. For eventual service and infrastructure migration to IP, the MSC 25000 was to have packet-over-SONET and Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, as well as MPLS signaling and traffic engineering capabilities.

The switch was also designed to support IP service shelf cards, QoS and differentiated services features from the GX 550. It was also going to interface to Lucent's SpringTide IP service switch intelligence.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jim Duffy

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?