Overture Networks, which helps telecommunications firms deliver data and voice services over Ethernet technology, has signed on NEC Corporation as a worldwide reseller.

NEC has agreed to support Overture Networks’ ISG 500 device for both existing metro area networks and advanced 2.5g and 3g wireless networks.

NEC, one of the largest telecommunications equipment providers in the world, sees the Overture devices as a means for telephone companies to extend their investments in existing so-called TDM networks. TDM refers to time division multiplexing, a means of delivering digitized voice service but not necessarily the most efficient for data because while voice is generated in a constant stream data is delivered in bursts.

“With the Overture Networks ISG 5000, carrier customers can now enjoy significant cost savings by aggregating Ethernet and traditional TDM voice, data and video circuits together and transporting them over lower cost metro Ethernet services,” said Mas Iwama, a spokesperson for the systems development division of NEC in Tokyo, in a statement.

Iwama said NEC was interested in the Overture device because of increasing interest on the part of wireless carriers to utilize Ethernet.

“One of the main things that makes Ethernet less expensive is that it is ubiquitous within the enterprise community,” added Aimee Ridgway, marketing communications manager for Overture. “By that I mean that over the last many years, Ethernet has been deployed into corporate networks because it was ideal for services like high-speed Internet access, or for connecting local area networks (LANs) between various business sites.

“Today, there are literally millions of Ethernet interfaces in existence, which has helped to drive the cost down. Therefore from a cost perspective, Ethernet has become the logical choice for many businesses because it is much less expensive than circuit technology. Ethernet is also faster and more convenient to use.”

The worldwide market for Ethernet services is expected to grow to nearly $6 billion a year by 2006, an increase of 131 percent from 2002 sales, according to a study from Infonetics Research that is cited by Overture Networks.

Overture Networks: www.overturenetworks.com