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Sorrento restarts its metro optical business

Metro optical transport vendor Sorrento Networks has arisen, phoenix-like, from the ashes of its previous existence.

Now called Sorrento Networks International, the company’s assets were bought by the UK-based Comtek Group in the summer of 2014. This week the company formally announced that it’s open for business again and has established a new base in Pleasanton, California.

The original Sorrento had deep roots in the metro optical transport space, as a company that helped to define that sector of the market in the late 1990s and 2000s. With trend towards cloud-based services driving huge increases in bandwidth for enterprises and data centre customers, Sorrento now says it is the ideal opportunity to reintroduce its products to the market place.

The company had built up an extensive base of installed equipment with North America and European customers, before hitting bankruptcy in 2013. In recent months it has been busy re-engaging with those customers. “We have been met with quite a welcome,” said John Mitchell, product development director at Sorrento.

The first order of the day has been to establish a support service, he says. Since last summer, Sorrento has re-built the organisation, establishing the resources and personnel that allow it to service and repair the installed base of Sorrento hardware as well as equipment from other vendors, such as Avaya, Cisco and Nortel. In this respect, Sorrento is following the example of sister company Comtek Networks, which specialises in servicing and repairing equipment from multiple vendors.

However, Mitchell is clear about the fact that Sorrento wants to be more than just a maintenance and service company. The company has re-established the supply chain, and has started to receive and ship orders for Sorrento’s GigaMux 3200 product line, a modular metro platform that supports CWDM and DWDM optical transport.

Sorrento has also drawn up a “roadmap of intent” that will see it make several new product introductions over the coming months, he says.

In June, Sorrento plans to expand the product range at the high end, by introducing the 3300 family, which will take data rates up to 100G. At the other end of the range, it is planning to add the 3100 family, which will handle up to eight wavelengths in a single box, for customers who want an entry-level metro system.

Underpinning the new product lines will be the 3000 series that will provide other optical functions, such as amplifiers, filters and dispersion compensators. Some of those items are currently available as part of the 3200 system, but the range will be rebranded and expanded.

Sorrento is also touting its encryption capabilities – something that seems to be a hot button in the industry – with a 10G transponder that meets all NIST AES-256 requirements.

Mitchell says the products are aimed primarily at private network operators, such as alternative operators, cable operators, utility companies and enterprises needing data centre connectivity, throughout North America and Europe. “Our products are very flexible in the service type they can offer. That’s where our addressable market is,” he said.

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