In November 1999, Nortel Networks announced its Open IP Environment, designed to give developers open access to its routing code, which would be incorporated into hardware other than traditional routers, such as servers, processors and devices. At the same time, Nortel lowered prices on its routing products.
Nevertheless, Gartner continues to believe that Open IP Environment has potential. Incorporated into servers, PCs, cell phones, personal digital assistants and other devices, routing software could provide more widespread connectivity and improved security. In turn, the routing market itself would expand significantly because sales of high-volume devices would stimulate a big appetite for licensed routing software.
The main challenge is to prove that routing code can be easily integrated into simpler hardware, and that doing so can truly benefit customers. Gartner expects that devices with a richer set of routing functions will appear by third quarter, 2001.
Nortel will not be alone in attempting to address this broader market. Cisco is also moving to include derivatives of its Internetworking Operating System (IOS) in a wider variety of devices.
(For related commentary on Nortel and staffing issues related to its recent expansion plans, see TechRepublic.com--free registration required.)
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