Eight months after announcing its 6950 SoftCell ATM Networking Node, Motorola Inc is to discontinue it as part of a revised product strategy. The 6950 was designed as a software-defined system for integrating speech, video and data over wide area carrier services, but the company now feels that the market wants branch and campus offerings […]
Eight months after announcing its 6950 SoftCell ATM Networking Node, Motorola Inc is to discontinue it as part of a revised product strategy. The 6950 was designed as a software-defined system for integrating speech, video and data over wide area carrier services, but the company now feels that the market wants branch and campus offerings instead. Although the company has not yet said what precisely will replace the 6950 – specific product announcements are scheduled for the latter part of the year – according to Simon Boyle, UK marketing director for the company’s Information Systems Group, the various components of the 6950, such as its concentrator and switching functions, will probably be separated out and marketed as individual products. This, says Boyle, will enable the company to tailor its packages more closely to specific customer requirements. According to Motorola, two main aspects of the way that the market is developing led to the change of heart. The more significant, it says, is the slow deployment of carrier Asynchronous Transfer Mode services, which it feels is an indicator that advanced speech and video services – widely seen as the main driving force behind Asynchronous Transfer Mode – have been slow in maturing. Indeed, the company now feels that it will be several more years before such multi-megabit Asynchronous Transfer Mode services are required. Conversely, the company sees very strong demand for high-speed communications within local area networks, and in local network-to-wide area network interconnection: it is in this area that it will now concentrate its efforts. Boyle calls the decision to change product direction a very difficult one, not least because the company has spent four years developing the technology. However, he adds that in its current form, the 6950 has been an immensely complex product to develop – because of the different requirements of different customers – and that the new strategy will give the company greater freedom to tailor its products more closely to specific requirements.