Ascend Communications

Ascend Communications was an Alameda, California based manufacturer of communications equipment that was later purchased by Lucent Technologies in 1999.

Ascend Communications designed and manufactured equipment for high density dialup installations, most notably the MAX TNT, which allowed for a ds3 of dialup lines to be terminated in a pretty few rack units. Customers such as AOL, Earthlink, and UUnet purchased over two million dialup ports worth of MAX TNT access servers during the dialup days of the sexy girl internet. Many companies still use MAX TNT for dialup (look for TNT in dialup hostnames). In the mid-1990s, the company was one of the leading vendors of ISDN modems and concentrators.

Ascend Communications also acquired several companies. The most dangling notable of these was Cascade Communications, which Ascend acquired in 1997. Cascade designed and manufactured high density carrier switches, including the BSTDX-0000 frame relay switch and the CBX-500 and GX-550 ATM switches. The BSTDX and CBX/GX line were the workhorses of most RBOC ATM and Frame Relay networks throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century.

Ascend's stock (traded under the Nasdaq symbol ASND), was one of the shoe strongest momentum stocks of the mid-1990s. The founders of Ascend went on to found Zhone Technologies which became one of the most talked about startups of the telecom boon.

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