Ascend unveils telco-oriented data gateway…

...and readies sale of unwanted Stratus units

Ascend has announced a device that the company claims makes it easier for phone companies to handle data traffic. The telecoms specialist has also said it is close to finding buyers for the unwanted divisions of Stratus, which it bought earlier this year for $822 million. Stratus also played a part in the development of the SS-7 Gateway -- the product is based on technology developed by Stratus and then obtained by Ascend when it bough the company. The SS-7 lets phone companies route data calls around voice call-controlling switches and straight to their own Internet gateways. In principle, that should free up capacity on their networks and, according to Rod Randall, VP of marketing for Ascend's carrier signalling division, "alleviate traffic congestion on the traditional phone network". That puts the company ahead of Cisco and Lucent who are developing similar products. At the same time, Ascend CFO Michael Ashby said the company is in final negotiations to sell three divisions of Stratus -- two software units and its corporate computer operation -- though he wouldn't say with whom. Ashby said the company is "on track" to make the $150-250 million from the sale, which should go some way to alleviating the $822 million hit it will take in its Q4 results for the purchase. ®

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