In the sector broadly known as networking technology, Boston has long been a strong player — the home of historical winners including Wellfleet, 3Com and Starent (among others).
On Monday, one of Boston's more recent success stories in the sector, Bedford-based Acme Packet (Nasdaq: APKT), announced a deal to be acquired by Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) for $2.1 billion.
Perhaps not surprisingly, a number of Boston area networking tech firms are standing ready to pick up the mantle. Here are five I've interviewed in recent months:
• Acacia Communications, Maynard. The firm offers 100-gigabit networking technology that aims to dramatically increase computing bandwidth. "We are playing a key role in powering the next-generation Internet," CEO Raj Shanmugaraj said in a recent interview. The company, which saw more than $30 million in revenue last year, expects continued growth as Internet service providers increasingly seek to boost bandwidth, amid exploding use of video, mobile devices and LTE.
• Plexxi, Cambridge and Nashua, N.H. The firm's software and hardware aim to build a network that is fully defined by software, rather than by where the wires are located; the end result is lower cost, power consumption and latency, CEO Dave Husak said in an interview. The product launched commercially in November, and aims to serve as "the stepping off point to the next era" of networking in data centers, Husak said.
Plexxi, whose CEO is David Husak, is among the Boston area firms with promising networking technology.
Courtesy | Plexxi
• Movik Networks, Westford. The firm produces telecom equipment which aims to dramatically improve the way content is delivered to mobile devices, while also slashing capital costs for mobile operators. Movik CEO John St. Amand told me recently that the company plans to announce several major wireless firms as customers within months.
• Affirmed Networks, Acton. The firm's software aims to give wireless firms a new level of intelligence about how their mobile networks are being used; that intelligence can be used to offer new mobile services to consumers, while also simplifying their networks and reducing capital costs, CEO Hassan Ahmed said in a November interview. He said at the time that Affirmed had trials in progress with a "very large number" of operators worldwide for the product.
• BTI Systems, Littleton (U.S. headquarters). The firm aims to help telecommunications carriers and content service providers to increase bandwidth and decrease latency for mobile users. The Ontario-based company opened its Littleton office in December 2011, and has since grown the office to a staff of 50, a company executive told me in January.
The increased focus on networking technology comes amid macro trends such as mobile, online video and "big data," Eric Hanselman, research director for the networking practice at 451 Research in Boston, told me last year.
Networks "have started to become the bottleneck" in the growth of computing, Hanselman said. "So there's suddenly a whole surge of innovation to solve the remaining thorny problems, to get (computing) to scale at its maximum potential."
Published on Boston Business Journal