MRV Communications (MRVC) announced the OptiSwitch 930, a 10G Ethernet demarcation box today. Demarc boxes are designed to sit at a customer site to manage and monitor the interface between the customer premises and the carriers network. While it is certainly a headline grabbing offering I don’t think significant demand exists for a 10G demarc device. It does highlight the increasing interest in hardware for providing ethernet services to businesses. (see “Enterprise Access Capex – A Ray of Hope?“)
The key differentiator in this area isn’t high speed hardware, but the software that handles the monitoring and management duties. Vendors like Adva (ADV.DE), Ciena (CIEN), and Cisco (CSCO) are leaders in this area because of their software, not their hardware.
Once big carriers roll out software infrastructure that relies on the API and statistics from these systems, the cost for them to switch to a new vendor is high. Therefore, what appears to be a commodity box sitting at the edge of a carrier network is in fact a very sticky piece of hardware.
Author is long Adva