Zhone product reshuffling resurrects Sorrento Networks

JANUARY 23, 2008 By Stephen Hardy -- Zhone Technologies Inc. has divested a pair of product lines to enable it to focus on the access market. One divestiture will result in the resurrection of the Sorrento Networks brand name.

JANUARY 23, 2008 By Stephen Hardy -- Zhone Technologies Inc. has divested a pair of product lines to enable it to focus on the access market. One divestiture will result in the resurrection of the Sorrento Networks brand name.

Zhone has jettisoned its AccessNode and GigaMux product lines. The move positions Zhone as a pure-play vendor within the access network market, where the company says it is enjoying strong growth in its multi-service access portfolio. The company says it will concentrate full R&D, manufacturing, and marketing resources on the growth core of its newly refocused business, particularly in the Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) and GPON niches, while continuing to introduce multi-service access platform (MSAP) enhancements throughout the this year.

"As an innovation-driven organization, Zhone's expertise and enthusiasm have always been centered on new technologies that advance communications and move the access industry forward," said Mory Ejabat, Zhone's chairman and CEO. "These divestitures enable us to focus maximum resources on continuing to enhance and extend our unmatched portfolio of integrated multi-service access products, bringing ever greater efficiency, speed, and operational agility to the access network."

Communications Test Design Inc. (CTDI) has acquired Zhone's AccessNode product suite. The sale includes the AccessNode, AccessNode Express, and the Universal Edge 9000 (UE9000) products. CTDI is the current service and repair contractor for the AccessNode products. CTDI also purchased the eLuminant line of products from Zhone in September 2005.

Meanwhile, the GigaMux 50, 1600/3200, and 6400 products have been acquired by the newly reconstituted Sorrento Networks, which once again will tackle the global metro optical access market. Zhone acquired the product line when it bought the original Sorrento Networks in 2004. Sorrento co-founders Jim Nevelle and Tim Anderson, backed by CHB Capital Partners and Silicon Valley Bank, will lead Sorrento's new incarnation. The former will be CEO and the latter president and COO. Sorrento will assume service and support responsibilities for all existing GigaMux customers, and plans to expand its current line of edge-to-regional CWDM, DWDM and ROADM equipment. The company will be headquartered in Denver, with offices in Oakland and Stuttgart. Current customers include Comcast, Cox Communications, Deutsche Telekom, Time Warner Telecom, Yipes Communications, among others, according to the company's website.

Terms of the two acquisitions were not disclosed.

"The sharpening of Zhone's focus on pure IP-based access technologies is timed right and is in sync with the evolution of the market at large, particularly in EMEA and emerging markets where Zhone is realizing strong growth," said Teresa Mastrangelo, principal analyst for Broadbandtrends.com. "They will realize operational gains throughout their organization, which in combination with the strength of their current portfolio of access solutions will bolster their position among the first-tier suppliers in multi-service access."

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