Alcatel Alsthom last week took a firm step into IP (Internet protocol) networking and the North American market, agreeing to acquire routing-switch maker Packet Engines.
The deal, valued at an estimated $US315 million, gives the French telecommunications and LAN (local area network) equipment vendor a platform from which to start building the converged networks of the future. Packet Engines makes large, high-performance routing switches, some of which are scaled to serve either LANs or WANs.
Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, and Lucent Technologies all are aiming to merge voice and data networks into IP-based infrastructures. Observers expect these networks eventually to save enterprises money, and pave the way for multimedia applications.