Nortel Networks has quietly postponed the launch of its carrier class OPTera Connect PX photonic switch, citing a lack of demand for the product.
The Connect PX was the result of development by Xros (pronounced 'kyros'), a photonic switching startup acquired by Nortel in June 2000 for US$3.2bn in stock.
"The nature of the long haul business has changed," said a Nortel spokesman.
"Before 2001 there was significant investment in long haul networks, but customers are now more selective and want to reduce their network costs."
The OPTera Connect PX sat in the same range as the OPTera Connect HDX and DX optical switches, completing a portfolio trumpeted by Nortel as the next generation of optical switching platforms.
But the Connect PX product will not appear in the near future. Sources at Nortel said that even if the PX never made the market, technology from its development would be introduced to switches further down the range.
"The view we have here is that operators aren't much interested in buying stuff until they absolutely have to," said Eddie Murphy, a senior consultant at telecoms consultancy Analysys.
"Nortel are postponing until conditions improve, but this is generally true of all nice-to-have products at the moment."
Iain Stevenson, research director at Ovum, said he saw potential rivals such as Cisco and Juniper as being keen to move into pure optical switching.
"Both Cisco and Juniper are building ever more powerful electrical switching strategies. Both companies intend to get into true optical switching via partnership or acquisition. Juniper especially has no expertise in optical switching."
Stevenson added that mixed messages were coming from the optical market at present, with Lucent announcing it was stepping up production of optical components.
Stevenson added: "Nortel has to get its strategy back in order. It's an issue of the company having to put a cap on its restructuring."
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