Nortel to buy XroS

Nortel Networks has agreed to purchase Silicon Valley-based Xros in a stock swap deal valued at about $3.25bn. The company has...

Nortel Networks has agreed to purchase Silicon Valley-based Xros in a stock swap deal valued at about $3.25bn. The company has developed optical switching technology that will be used to speed corporate data networks and large telecommunications systems, writes Matthew Thomas.

Xros has a silicon-based micro-mirror technology that acts as an optical switch using light rather than having to covert optical signals into electrical signals and then back again. Agilent Technologies recently announced a similar technology.

The company, however, does not yet have any shipping products and its first systems aren't scheduled for field trials until later this year.

But Nortel is in a race with Lucent Technologies and others to have components and technologies in place to offer all-optical networks. These will initially be used in large telecommunications systems but can be adapted for corporate data networks as the use of the Internet continues to grow and becomes more vital to business operations.

Xros' technology is designed to operate at the standard, 10Gbps, as well as the future optical network speeds of 40Gbps and 80Gbps.

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