Optical Connections Magazine Spring 2022



Ribbon Communications is a company that wants to go places. With a portfolio of optical and IP networking systems and automation and orchestration software for enterprise and service providers, and customers including Tier 1 operators across Europe and the US, the company is aiming to become a major player in the optical communications and IP routing spaces. Optical Connections editor Peter Dykes discussed the company’s aspirations and strategy with Ribbon’s President and CEO Bruce McClelland .

Can you tell me something of the history of the company?

being our strongest market outside the US. We’re a relatively small player compared to our competitors, but we have big ambitions and we want to be a much larger player in the industry. I think there’s good opportunity for us particularly as Huawei gets pressed out of many countries and its market share becomes available. So, as far as the company’s name is concerned, it was adopted about three and a half years ago, when Genband and Sonus merged together and wanted to rebrand the company and call it Ribbon. However, when I talk to customers about Genband or Sonus or Nortel, of course they know those names, they just don’t know the Ribbon name as well today, so we’ve got some work to do on brand recognition.

they viewed a lot of their added value in building these networks in their own private cloud and their own infrastructure. Slowly however, some functions have moved to the cloud, all the enterprise software has moved to the cloud, along with email systems. Also, OSS and BSS are moving into the cloud, but what we’re seeing now is more interest in even the core network services moving into a public cloud environment, including the basics around call processing and media gateway functionality. In addition, the next generation 5G mobile cores are being based more in a public cloud environment. In response, we’ve been investing in transforming our whole portfolio to be more cloud native, and have engagements with virtually all the public cloud providers, including Google, Amazon, AWS and Microsoft. We want to be able to provide our customers an option, if that’s the direction they want to go. If you’d asked me two years ago, I would have said no, I don’t think it will happen, but there’s a lot more momentum now. I’m not sure [network operators] know


It’s an interesting story. We’re a technology company and we build products and partner with the large


service providers and enterprise customers. Ribbon is a combination of a variety of companies that have come together through acquisitions, like many technology companies. When Nortel went through its bankruptcy 10 years ago, the carrier voice business was acquired by a company called Genband, which subsequently became part of Ribbon, and so that is part of our heritage. A couple of years ago, the board decided that we needed to expand into data networking, and so we merged with an Israeli company called ECI Telecom which has been around for almost 60 years. Again, ECI has a good presence in the UK, working with BT and other customers. It was one of the original fibre to the home, copper and DSL providers, which then moved into SDH and is also now part of the company. Today, we have a little less than a billion dollars of revenue, with 50% of our businesses inside the US and 50% outside, with Europe

What market sectors are you concentrating on specifically?


One area where we see great opportunities is the telco cloud. For years, few carriers around the


world were interested in running their services inside the public cloud. In fact,



| ISSUE 28 | Q1 2022

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