Nortel hangs 'for sale' sign on metro Ethernet unit

* Nortel tries to sell Metro Ethernet Networks division

Nortel is looking to improve its financial picture and sell off its Metro Ethernet Networks unit, one of its four divisions, to raise cash and shift its technological focus.

Toronto's The Globe and Mail reported that Nortel is putting the sale of the division on a "fast-track process." The company made it clear that it wants to complete a sale quickly, for the benefit of both the employees and the customers, and going public with its effort to sell the division is part of that accelerated effort.

The Globe and Mail quoted an industry analyst who speculated that Cisco wouldn't be a likely buyer - but Huawei might be.

Nortel last week said it was estimating revenue in 2008 would be down 2% to 4% from 2007, and in the same breath announced the intended sale of the division.

Interestingly, Jim Duffy's story focused on Nortel's effort to adopt a more software-driven business model. And of course, software is where all the action is. Just ask Cisco

Also interestingly, all the news out of Nortel this week was from the Metro Ethernet Networks division. The company touted Experience 40G, a "virtual demonstration" that is supposed to show what video looks like when packet loss occurs, and what it looks like over a 40Gbps optical network. Oh, and by the way, KPN Belgium just upgraded its network with Nortel's 40G-ready optical technology. And catch Nortel at the Carrier Ethernet World Congress in Berlin on Sept. 22, where the company will be participating in the world's largest, public Carrier Ethernet multi-vendor interoperability demonstration.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.