Big providers size up Metro-Optix

Metro-Optix Inc.'s metropolitan networking gear is having its tires kicked by some big service providers, Light Reading has observed.

During a recent visit to the company's Allen, Texas, headquarters, Light Reading noted that representatives from WorldCom and Genuity were putting Metro-Optix's CityStream box through its paces in the labs. Genuity will be moving into field trials soon, according to one Metro-Optix lab worker.

Another Metro-Optix employee coyly confirmed that the company would start shipping units to a third service provider -- "a top-tier [interexchange carrier]" -- next week for lab trials.

CityStream is a metro switch and aggregation device that handles SONET/ADM, ATM, IP and dense wave division multiplexing traffic.

Of course, trials are nothing more than tryouts and don't necessarily mean that Metro-Optix has won or is going to win any new business. But the service providers in its lab are noteworthy, considering that the firm only announced general availability in February. It is also facing a gaggle of competitors, including Cisco, which says it has shipped more than 25,000 units of its competing product.

The question is whether Metro-Optix has what it takes to stand out in the crowded metro pack. A March 14 research note by Salomon Smith Barney analyst Alex Henderson says " over 20 vendors " were in the running for a Genuity metro contract. Henderson’s note states that Genuity eliminated Redback Networks, Cyras Systems, Alcatel SA and Fujitsu Ltd. from consideration. Metro-Optix and ONI Systems were Genuity’s top picks, with Nortel Networks and Cisco in the running as alternates, Henderson writes.

Metro-Optix declined to comment on its unannounced customers or anything observed in its labs.

" We're doing a lot of testing in many labs, and I can't confirm or deny whether we're testing with Metro-Optix, " says a WorldCom spokesperson.

" We're not going to comment specifically about Metro-Optix, but it's not uncommon for us to be testing other companies' equipment, " says a Genuity representative.

This story, "Big providers size up Metro-Optix " was originally published by Network World.

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