Nortel Networks, SBC Communications and Northwestern University Trial Emerging Optical Networking Solutions

December 5, 2001

OMNInet is Test Bed for Next-Generation Applications such as High-Resolution 3D Visualization,
Streaming Video for Medical Imaging, and High-Volume Data Transport for Corporations

Evanston, IL, 5 December 2001 - Nortel Networks* [NYSE/TSE:NT], SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE:SBC) and its subsidiary SBC Ameritech, and Northwestern University today announced the creation of OMNInet (Optical Metro Network Initiative), a collaborative experimental network designed to assess and validate next-generation optical technologies, architectures and applications in metropolitan networks.

The OMNInet technology trial, a four-site network located in Chicago, will provide a test bed for all-optical switching, advanced high-speed technology such as 10 gigabit Ethernet (10 GE) and will test next-generation applications for healthcare, industrial design, finance and commerce.

Applications being tested for future 10 GE technology include high-resolution streaming video to deliver full screen, full color, full motion medical images to specialists at remote locations in real time. The trial will also test applications such as next-generation 3D visualization for industrial design, financially focused large-scale data transfers, data mining for scientific and commercial use, and computational science - data intensive science for high bandwidth applications.

"We believe that retail metro Ethernet services revenue is set to increase sharply over the next five years reaching over $4 billion by 2006," said Marian Stasney, senior analyst Carrier Convergence Infrastructure, The Yankee Group. "The pioneering work of OMNInet will speed the deployment of optical products in metro networks, where they're needed most."

The OMNInet research project includes:

  • Trials of highly reliable, scalable 10 GE in metropolitan and wide area networks. Ethernet is the global standard for local area networks (LANS) that connect today's computing devices. 10 GE runs at speeds 10-100 times faster than current standards, and can extend the network throughout metropolitan areas (MANs) and between cities (WANs).
  • Trials of new technologies to support applications that require extremely high levels of bandwidth. The International Center for Advanced Internets Research (iCAIR) at Northwestern University and its research partners are expected to use the test bed to develop techniques to support applications such as computational science and ultra-high resolution digital imaging. Other research partners include The Electronic Visualization Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Argonne National Laboratory and CANARIE, the Canadian national research network.
  • Development and trial of optical switching, ensuring maximized capabilities in the wide scale deployment of all-photonic networks.

"OMNInet is one of the most advanced optical metro network trials to date," said Brian McFadden, president, Optical Metro, Nortel Networks. "By working closely with our service provider customers in the creation of a test bed for these emerging technologies, Nortel Networks continues to advance and speed the deployment of metro services to enterprises."

"OMNInet will be a reference model for next-generation metropolitan network deployments," said Bob Walters, executive director, SBC Optical Networking marketing. "The research will help to bring advanced optical architectures into the metro network, addressing bandwidth scalability issues, and provide the architecture for supporting advanced applications."

"These technologies will enable the creation of extremely powerful, data and computer intensive applications, that can be highly distributed and that can demonstrate exceptional performance," said Joe Mambretti, director of iCAIR, and director of the Metropolitan Research and Education Network.

OMNInet brings together three powerful organizations to create this unique test network: SBC Communications - operating through its SBC Southwestern Bell, SBC Ameritech, SBC Pacific Bell, SBC Nevada Bell and SBC SNET subsidiaries - a world-class communications leader; Nortel Networks, the world's leading supplier of Optical Metro solutions; and Northwestern University, a leading academic supporter of technological innovation.


Nortel Networks is an industry leader and innovator focused on transforming how the world communicates and exchanges information. The company is supplying its service provider and enterprise customers with communications technology and infrastructure to enable value-added IP data, voice and multimedia services spanning Metro Networks, Wireless Networks and Optical Long Haul Networks. As a global company, Nortel Networks does business in more than 150 countries. More information about Nortel Networks can be found on the web at www.nortelnetworks.com.

SBC Communications Inc. (www.sbc.com) is a global communications leader. Through its subsidiaries' trusted brands - SBC Southwestern Bell, SBC Ameritech, SBC Pacific Bell, SBC Nevada Bell, SBC SNET and Sterling Commerce - and world-class network, SBC companies provide a full range of voice, data, networking and e-business services, including local and long-distance, high-speed Internet access and data transport, network integration, software and process integration, Web site and application hosting, e-marketplace development, paging and messaging, as well as directory advertising and publishing. America's leading provider of high-speed DSL Internet service, SBC companies currently have more than 60 million access lines nationwide. SBC has a 60 percent equity interest in Cingular Wireless, its joint venture with BellSouth, which serves more than 20 million wireless customers. Internationally, SBC has telecommunications investments in 28 countries and has annual revenues that rank it among the largest Fortune 500 companies.

Northwestern University's International Center for Advanced Internet Research (iCAIR, www.icair.org) accelerates leading-edge innovation and enhanced global communications through advanced Internet technologies, in partnership with the international community, and national partners, including EVL at the University of Illinois (www.evl.uic.edu), the Math and Computer Science Division of Argonne National Lab (www.mcs.anl.gov), CANARIE (www.canarie.ca), SURFnet (Netherlands, www.surfnet.nl), APAN (Asia Pacific, www.apan.net), and CERN (Europe, www.cern.ch.) Established in 1851, Northwestern is a leading private research and teaching institution with 17,700 undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges. Located on two lakefront campuses in Evanston and Chicago, it is considered one of the top ranked institutions for effective use of technology. For more information about Northwestern University, visit its Web site at http://www.northwestern.edu.

Last Updated: 17 February 2010