Nortel brushed off criticism that it is confusing its customers at the Networld+Interop show in Paris today.
Critics claim the telecomms equipment maker's product portfolio has grown so much that it is bombarding the market with mixed messages.
Last week, analysts applauded the voice-data alliance between Cisco and Hewlett Packard for publishing solid dates for future products, but condemned Nortel for not doing the same since its grand takeover of Bay Networks.
Cesar Cesaratto, president of Nortel?s enterprise networks unit in Europe, said the company has just begun to absorb Bay and will roll out the plan for the converged company over the next six months. He said the first programme was in place - to develop combined network management of Nortel and Bay products, as announced at N+I in Atlanta two weeks? ago.
He said: ?We do have roadmaps for data networking products through Bay Networks but when we talk about the company as a whole, we are in the carrier data, wireless, voice and enterprise networks markets. We have the broadest portfolio - Cisco covers about a quarter of the space we cover and Lucent half.?
However, having a broad portfolio could also mean sending mixed messages to the market. Even before its acquisition of Bay, Nortel?s labelled its ambitions in the convergence space as a Webtone initiative, promising to make the Internet as pervasive and reliable as corporate networks. But since then it has also described other, sometimes overlapping, initiatives such as IP Connect and Internet Thruway.
Cesaratto admits there is confusion and said Nortel plans to combine all the different initiatives under the Unified Networks project as outlined by its CEO John Roth and former Bay chief David House, now Nortel vice chairman, at N+I in Atlanta (see Newswire 22 October).
Cesaratto also tried to bring some order to the confusion by outlining the five subsidiaries that make up Nortel Networks - the combined organisation.
The carrier networks division addresses existing public carriers that have legacy voice networks, and it is here the IP Connect programme exists to take these customers to the IP world. This unit also hosts the Intenret Thruway programme to ensure carriers optimise their networks to avoid long waiting times.
The carrier packet networks arm includes the Aptis and Avici acquisitions, making high speed routers and switches for telcos.
Bay Networks sit in the enterprise data networks division, while the enterprise voice unit includes call centres and corporate PABXs. A fifth subsidiary, wireless, is concerned with mobility in the office but little has been announced here yet.
Cesaratto admitted the company still has holes in its product portfolio that it would like to fill with acquisitions but would not be more specific.
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