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August 25, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 11:34am

LUCENT TRADES IP MULTICAST SOFTWARE FOR STAKE IN GLOBALCAST

By CBR Staff Writer

Lucent Technologies Inc is handing over its IP multicasting technology to Globalcast Communications Inc in a move that continues the company’s recent practice of unloaded technologies and products that do not fit with its core telecommunications equipment business. In this case, Lucent has handed over its RMTP (reliable multicast transport protocol) multicast software, which the company was strongly promoting at Networld+InterOp back in May (NBD 05/12/97), to multicast networking start-up Globalcast. Although financial details were not disclosed, Lucent says that in return it has taken a minority stake in the Fremont, California-based company. According to Lucent, the decision to partner with Globalcast was a business rather than technology based decision. Globalcast has already been working with Lucent to join its own multicasting products, Scalable Reliable Multicast (SRM) and Reliable Multicast Protocol (RMP), to Lucent’s RMTP to provide a single developers API for the combined offering. As part of the deal, Globalcast has the exclusive rights to the Lucent technology but will split sales and marketing with Lucent. Globalcast gains rights to sell the developers kits to internet and networking companies with Lucent saying it will retain rights to sell the multicast software to its telecommunications customers – although Lucent admits this will be the smaller segment of the potential market. Lucent also says it will continue some development work on RMTP software in its Bell Laboratories. Aimed primarily at ISPs, the multicast technology allows one to many or many to many simultaneous broadcasting. Globalcast’s SRM is a cloud-based multiprotocol technology – this means that if one recipient does not get a packet then one of the other recipients will pass the missing packet. This protocol is best suited to developing data streaming applications, such as video. Globalcast’s other current offering is RMP. RMP is a ring-based protocol for small groups of nodes, which ensures that all are kept concurrent. Lucent’s RMTP is a tree-based hierarchical protocol for insuring that each node receives the data correctly. Lucent looks to have happened upon the technology as a by-product of a contract with a large network service provider to provide software to collect and transfer billing information from toll switches. Since unveiling the technology at Networld+InterOp Lucent seems to be disappointed by the level of interest in the technology, saying only hundreds of downloads of the software have been made from its website. Now it has decided to hand over the technology to a partner. We wanted to partner on this because transport layer protocols are not our business. Applications are, but we are definitely not in the protocol business, says David Stahl, business development manager at Bell Canada. He says Lucent may yet develop specific applications on top of the work by GlobalCast. Lucent had been selling the RMTP developer kit for $15,000 plus $100 per end user. Lucent says that despite its current strategy to offload technologies below application level, this should not raise questions over the company’s much touted Inferno operating system and that work continues on the software.

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