Observation: “Optical Ethernet” was Nortel-speak for multi-service provisioning platform (MSPP) solutions that company lacked until they scrapped their old S/DMS TransportNode in favor of completely new competitive platforms for the metro network. Nortel secretly loved the simplicity of Cisco’s over-arching IP + Optical solutions and so Nortel introduced the phrase “Optical Ethernet.”
Observation: This pain point was addressed by Cerent in 1998 and only recognized by the “evil oligopoly,” as Carl Russo called the industry’s big competitors, some four years after the bandwidth bottleneck in the metro problem was identified by his upstart startup .
Nortel said in mid-2002: The metro network has the service providers’ “highest concentration of customers, and their highest concentration of costs too because they have to deploy a lot of expensive edge equipment that is specialized for whatever technology they have to feed into that individual customer. So optical Ethernet is a way to simplify those networks, simplify the capital expenditures and operational expenditures.”
Observation: Which is why hundreds of service providers rewarded Cerent-Cisco with billions of dollars in their precious capital expenditures to build MSPP-based (optical Ethernet or IP + Optical) networks.
Nortel said in mid-2002: “[Optical Ethernet] removes the need to do those translations between optics to ATM to Ethernet in local area networks and keeps a single language – Ethernet – from a local area network all the way through wide area networks.”
Observation: Cisco had been on the Ethernet bandwagon for years. By 2002, Nortel’s ATM product sales had tanked, even after they were aggressively promoted at the beginning of the millennium.
Observation: This was exactly Cerent’s (then Cisco’s) value proposition in breaking the metropolitan bandwidth bottleneck as early as 1998. The Cerent 454 next generation optical transport solution fit into existing telco networks by embracing SONET services for voice carriage, and supercharging those same fibers by carrying Ethernet-based services (for data) simultaneously .
Observation: This was Cerent’s MSPP functionality and value proposition parlayed in 1998. Auto-discovery was a key feature of the Cerent 454 and also A-Z provisioning, even supported across multiple product platforms.
As the oft-used Charles Colton quote goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
 The Case for Optical Ethernet: Is It Enough To Make Carriers Spend Again, Fiber Optics News, May 6, 2002, pp.1–3.
 The evil oligopoly included Nortel, Lucent, Fujitsu, and Alcatel, companies that tried to use legacy SONET transport solutions in the evolving metro network instead of innovating with MSPP-type solutions needed to accommodate a variety of services.