About 450 of these additional employees will be taken on in Ireland and the UK. The majority of the 2,000 workers will focus on wireless technologies in response to the burgeoning mobile Internet market.
On the optical side, carriers are upgrading their networks with faster photonic technology, which will ultimately lead to operators being able to send their customers' data at terabit (trillions of bits per second) speeds using new optical hardware.
Nortel last year said it predicted its operations would grow by 20% a year over the next few years because of these new technologies and users' demands for more bandwidth.
The skills shortage in networking means there are an estimated 100,000 jobs to be filled across Europe over the next couple of years, so the candidates applying to Nortel can be expected to ask for top packages.
Nortel has revealed it has to go to other European countries to hire about 5% of its UK staff.
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Network infrastructure supplier Ciena has won the auction for Nortel's optical networking and carrier Ethernet business with a bid of $769m (£463m).