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Nortel finds its enterprise routing partner in Tasman

Jan 10, 20062 mins
Cisco SystemsNetworking

* Nortel partners with Tasman to go up against Cisco's routers

Nortel has found its enterprise routing partner.

Last month’s $99.5 million purchase of Tasman Networks fulfills the promise ex-CEO Bill Owens made last summer to partner to re-enter enterprise routing. Tasman makes low-cost, standards-based WAN routers designed to go up against Cisco’s Integrated Services Router (ISR) line.

Tasman’s routers will be incorporated into Nortel’s convergence products and marketed as part of its Secure Router line. Those products are directed at small to midsized deployments that support voice, VPNs and firewalls.

Most of Tasman’s routers are sold to carriers that re-brand them as part of a managed service for network connectivity. Other Tasman products are also re-branded by network equipment vendors.

Nortel’s Secure Router lineup includes models 1002 and 3102 from the Tasman acquisition, and the 6230 and 6280 configurations, which were developed internally under the code name “Dolphin.” At the time Owens mentioned Nortel’s intention to partner to re-enter enterprise routing, he said Nortel lacks a “profoundly important router product,” even though the Dolphin routers were expected to enter beta trials last July and ship last September.

The Dolphin routers, however, are now expected to ship in the first half of this year. A Nortel spokesman would not confirm that but said “stay tuned.”

Some analysts believe Dolphin is still Nortel’s long-range enterprise routing play but that immediate demand prompted the Tasman buy.

“They were getting some pressure from their customers” to provide an enterprise router, says Zeus Kerravala of the Yankee Group.