For the first time since Nortel acquired Bay Networks last summer, the chief executives of the two companies appeared together, aptly preaching the unified network.
Delivering a joint keynote at the Networld+Interop show in Atlanta, Nortel CEO John Roth and former Bay chief David House, now Nortel's vice chairman, called for an accelerated move to convergence of voice and data and of different infrastructure technologies.
"In the applications that drive businesses, the lines are blurring, and te world needs a unified network," said House.
He believes the next convergence trend will be the addition of voice capabilities to Lans, with companies such as Nortel releasing voice switches for PC servers next year.
Advantages of convergence include savings on the cost of a dedicated voice network, more efficient use of bandwidth and the ability to combine the telephone and the Web for applications such as electronic retailing, continued House.
Roth was more focused on Nortel's own plans to ride the convergence wave, promising 320Gbps throughput over a single fibre this year, offering carriers more economical ways to carry more data over fibre.
Wireless data will also be critical in a world where people need to connect to the network "any time anywhere", Roth said. He predicts that data will make up 70 per cent of wireless traffic by 2005, compared to 20 per cent now.
As for the obstacles for convergence, the two executives identified integration of management and technical staff and skills, and the need for a more reliable data infrastructure.
Roth made a dig at competitors Lucent and Cisco, claiming they had experience only in one area of the converged world - Lucent in voice and Cisco in data. "What's the alternative?" he asked. "Going to companies that are suing each other and asking them to work together to build your network?"
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