Ascend Communications

Ascend Communications
Industry Communications Equipment
Founded Alameda, California, U.S.
Key people

Rob Ryan, Jay Duncanson, Steve Speckenbach, Jeanette Symons (Founders)[1]

Rob Ryan (CEO 1988-1995),[1] Mory Ejabat (CEO 1995-1999)
Footnotes / references
Purchased by Lucent Technologies in 1999.

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

Ascend Communications was founded in 1988 and taken public in 1994. Initial investors included Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers (KPCB); Greylock Partners; and New Enterprise Associates (NEA).[1]

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 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 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 notable of these was Cascade Communications, which Ascend acquired in 1997. Cascade designed and manufactured high density carrier packet switches, including the B-STDX9000 frame relay switch and the CBX-500 and GX-550 ATM switches. The B-STDX and CBX/GX lines were the workhorses of most RBOC Frame Relay and ATM networks throughout the 1990s and into the 21st century.

In August 1998 Ascend bought Stratus Computers for $822 million in stock.[2] Stratus was primarily a maker of fault-tolerant computer systems but it owned a Service Control Point technology critical to the convergence of voice and data networks that Ascend valued.[3] The server business was sold off to private equity investors within months, following the Lucent deal. It now operates as Stratus Technologies.

The complete product suite made Ascend an attractive asset, and was acquired by Lucent Technologies in 1999.[4] The $24 billion merger was the largest technology merger in history up to that time.[5]

Ascend's stock traded under the Nasdaq symbol ASND.


  1. 1 2 3 Ascend Communications, Inc., Initial Public Offering Prospectus (1994)
  2. Wilson, David (1998-08-04), "Ascend Confirms Stratus Purchase $822 Million Deal", San Jose Mercury News (Morning Final ed.), p. 1, ISSN 0747-2099 OCLC not provided due to there being multiple valid values.
  3. Herhold, Scott (1999-03-06), "Once A Predator, Now Willing Prey", Contra Costa Times (Final ed.), p. 1, ISSN 0192-0235, OCLC 232117480
  4. "Lucent Technologies completes merger with Ascend Communications -- names new leadership team for data networking efforts". June 24, 1999. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  5. Heskett, Ben (1999-01-13), "Lucent, Ascend in $24 billion merger", CNET
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