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Networking firms tap lucrative metro market

Cisco Systems and Sycamore Networks are both putting a new spin on strategies to tap the lucrative market for high-speed networking equipment in dense metropolitan cities.

    Networking equipment leader Cisco Systems and high-flying upstart Sycamore Networks are both putting a new spin on strategies to tap the lucrative market for high-speed networking equipment in dense metropolitan cities.

    The companies are responding to an ever-increasing demand for higher capacity network links in areas that experience high levels of Internet, data and video traffic. Network equipment providers are working on hardware that can prevent potential bottlenecks on those networks.

    Sycamore Networks this week unveiled changes to existing technology to address these traffic demands on networks that travel through densely populated metropolitan areas, such as New York City.

    Sycamore plans to add enhanced hardware and software capabilities to its SN 8000 switching device, a technology that is also targeted at long-distance and regional optical networks. Enron Broadband Services, a division of the Enron energy company, is currently using the new features on its own networks, executives said.

    Separately, Cisco Systems, which has bought its way into the optical market, announced a licensing agreement with German metro player ADVA Optical Networking. ADVA?s technology will be used on corporate optical networks, according to the company.

    Terms of the Cisco licensing deal were not disclosed, but the deal is not exclusive.

    Cisco said its ADVA deal will feed into its other equipment, such as the technology it acquired from Italian giant Pirelli and from Silicon Valley start-up Cerent. A Cisco spokeswoman said companies on Wall Street are particularly interested in adding the ADVA gear to their optical networks.

    Sycamore executives list both Nortel Networks and Ciena as potential competitors in the market for metropolitan networks.

    The niche is see story: Cashing in on fiber opticsexpected to be lucrative, and other start-ups and established companies are working to make sure they get a stake in the market. Industry analysts have said demand for optical-based networking will become a multibillion-dollar opportunity for equipment providers.

    Other optical networking companies, like start-up ONI Systems are expected to have success with its expected initial public offering later this year. Others, such as Chromatis Networks, are also thought to become a strong player in the market.