Nortel to Buy DSL Vendor Promatory

Nortel Networks plans to buy digital subscriber line switch specialist Promatory Communications for $778 million in stock.

By snapping up Promatory, Nortel gains access to Promatory's ATM-based Intelligent Multi-service Access Switch (IMAS) edge switch. This device takes in digital subscriber traffic in a number of DSL flavors and sorts customer traffic to insure various levels of service quality.

Quality of service (QoS) is a must for putting voice over DSL lines to avoid gaps and delay in voice transmissions. In addition, carriers can use the IMAS to offer different levels of service quality at different prices. So a customer who uses the line for e-mail and Web surfing could buy a less expensive, lower quality connection than someone using the DSL link to tie into a corporate network for business reasons.

The IMAS ships today. It eliminates the need for separate DSL access multiplexers and packet switches to direct DSL customer traffic into service provider networks. Instead IMAS combines the function of the two devices into a single box, and pushes ATM and its QoS capabilities to the customer.

IMAS connects to the carrier network via high-speed fiber optic ports, making possible direct trunks to the Internet.

In combination with Nortel's cable modem and wireless access gear, the Promatory deal will round out the company's broadband access offerings for residences and small businesses.

Nortel Networks can be found at www.nortel.comPromatory Communications can be found at

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