Nortel CEO: Prepare For Hyperconnectivity

One trillion devices are expected to be networked throughout the world within 15 years, up from 5 billion to 6 billion devices today, Zafirovski said during a keynote address at the event, held by CMP Technology, CRN's parent company.

"For enterprises, this is going to add even more complexity," Zafirovski said, noting that the trend -- which Nortel has dubbed "hyperconnectivity" -- is being driven in part by increases in the number of mobile devices and machine-to-machine communications.

Zafirovski acknowledged that Nortel lost its footing over the past few years as it struggled with financial woes and accounting scandals. The blows of that struggle are still being felt as the Ontario Securities Commission on Tuesday approved a settlement that will see the Toronto-based company pay nearly $1 million (U.S.) toward the regulator's costs to investigate Nortel's accounting practices from few years ago.

But those problems are in the past, Zafirovski said, painting Nortel as a reinvigorated company that's as committed to the enterprise and can help customers meet the growing hyperconnectivity challenge.

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As evidence, he pointed to Nortel's spending on enterprise research and development, which grew by 33 percent last year, and to the company's increased investment in sales, marketing and channel initiatives. He also highlighted a slew of new enterprise data products launched at Interop.

Under its new Business Optimized Networking strategy, Nortel is rolling out new networking, wireless and WAN optimization technology for enterprise customers.

The new wares include Nortel's Secure Router 4134, which integrates routing, switching, security and VoIP functionality into a single branch-office device. The product takes advantage of the 10-month-old Innovative Communications Alliance between Nortel and Microsoft, rolling in integrated support for Microsoft Mediation technology required for Microsoft converged communications solutions.

That combination of capabilities will enable customers to drop the number of boxes at branch locations from seven down to one, Zafirovski said.

Nortel also unveiled its entrance into the WAN optimization market with its new Nortel Application Accelerator, which promises to boost Web application performance and cut bandwidth consumption.

Nortel, too, was one of many vendors to roll out new WLAN technology at Interop. The company introduced a new architecture and new products, including its WLAN Security Switch 2382 and WLAN Access Point 2332.

Under the new architecture, access points can forward traffic between themselves, eliminating the need to constantly send data back to the network core.