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Executive Editor

Marconi makes noise about releasing carrier-grade edge router

Sep 07, 20042 mins

* Marconi later this year plans to release a carrier-grade edge router

Marconi is starting to make noises about releasing a carrier-grade edge router later this year, which is the fruit of last year’s purchase of Crescent Networks intellectual property.

The so-called Dense Virtual Router hardware developed by Crescent will be spruced up with Marconi QoS technology and integrated with Marconi’s operations support system to make it fit in better with the company’s other networking gear. Marconi bought the remnants of Crescent late last year after the start-up ran out of money and closed its doors.

Marconi will try to sell the routers to governments for creating VPNs, says James Luciani, former CTO of Crescent who is heading up the development of the router for Marconi. Government security concerns make the virtual router architecture more attractive than using standard Multi-protocol Label Switching VPNs because they reveal too much information about network topology, he says.

The router project is being run out of Crescent’s former headquarters in Lowell, Mass., by a team of somewhere between 20 and 60 people. Marconi wouldn’t be more specific about the headcount. The project also includes help from other Marconi divisions in Pittsburgh and Ireland.

Breathing new life into the router under the Marconi name should get customers to consider it more seriously, Luciani says. Back when Crescent was still around, the company would brief potential customers and get good reviews for technical merit, he says. Then came the hard question about whether the company had sufficient backing to survive, he says. “We’d do our pitch, and they’d say, ‘So who’s your big brother? Who’s going to make sure you’re around in nine months?'” As it turned out that was an excellent question.

But with Crescent absorbed by Marconi, that problem is gone. Marconi has recently reorganized and sold off some of its divisions to become more streamlined and stable. Marconi also has a host of active government customers that might be interested in the new routers.

This new router from Marconi might not be good news for Laurel Networks, whose ST 200 edge router Marconi resells as the BXR 5000, a relationship that dates back to the spring of 2003. The Laurel box features QoS as well as integrated management.

Look for the launch of this product under the Marconi name sometime later this year.