Newbridge Networks

Newbridge Networks was an Ottawa, Ontario, Canada company founded by Welsh-Canadian entrepreneur Sir Terry Matthews. It was founded in 1986 to create data and voice networking products after Matthews was forced out of his original company Mitel. According to Matthews, he saw that data networking would grow far faster than voice networking, and he had wanted to take Mitel in much the same direction, but the 'risk-averse' British Telecom dominated Mitel board refused and effectively ousted him. The name Newbridge Networks comes from Sir Terry Matthews' home town of Newbridge in south Wales.

Newbridge quickly became a major market player in this area using the voice switching and software engineering expertise that was prevalent in the Ottawa area.

The company initially had innovative channelbank products, which allowed telcos with existing wiring to offer a wide variety of new services. Newbridge also offered (for the time) innovative network management and ISDN, RS-232C PC and Mac networking products, including distributed star-topology routing through both proprietary hardware and telco switches.

In 1992-93 the company became increasingly focused upon and well known for its family of ATM products.

Newbridge later absorbed some routing technology that had been abandoned by Gandalf Technologies and entered the pure data networking market with a distributed routing product (Ridge or routing bridge - bridges with a centralized routing server).

It was purchased and absorbed by Alcatel in late February 2000 for over seven billion dollars in stock. With this transaction, Matthews became the single largest shareholder in Alcatel.

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