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Networking executives team on optical venture

Several former high-level executives from networking giants Cisco, Lucent and Nortel team to form Maple Networks, a company that plans to develop optical network systems.

!- EDS update 8:55 am: adds info and link to last graf --> Several former high-level executives from networking giants Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks have teamed to form Maple Networks, a company that plans to develop optical network systems.

The company, based in San Jose, Calif., also said it has tapped Bill Joll, who was most recently president of Nortel Networks' European division, as its new chief executive officer.

Maple Networks' founders include Phanindra Jujjavarapu, who was with Cisco and Lucent. Others include Sandip Chattpoadhya, who created an ethernet switch at Chipcom, which was acquired by 3Com, and Ravi Manghirmalani, who was the chief architect of Optivity Network Management at Bay Networks/Nortel.

Cisco, Nortel and Lucent have been on a tear in the past year snapping up smaller optical networking companies in a rush to build an optical network. see story: Cashing in on fiber optics

Just today, Lucent acquired Chromatis, a fiber-optical networking equipment company, for $4.5 billion.

The rapidly growing volumes of data traffic from rising use of the Internet is pushing networking companies to build optical networks. Fiber-optic networks transmit signals as pulses of light rather than electronic signals, allowing them to handle a greater volume of traffic.

Maple Networks said it plans to develop multiservice optical systems that may help reduce the complexity and costs of deploying and managing the traffic of multiple services across carrier networks.

Networking incubator Raza Foundries said it has invested $9 million in the initial round of financing for the new company. Raza Foundries, founded by former Advanced Micro Devices president Atiq Raza and a number of Silicon Valley veterans, funds start-ups looking to produce technology to unclog increasingly congested Internet networks.