MURRAY HILL, N.J., May 16 -- Global Crossing is at the head of the line to purchase the Lucent WaveStar LambdaRouter, the world's first high-capacity, all-optical switch for communications networks. Under the multimillion dollar agreement, Global Crossing will deploy LambdaRouters in the US and in Europe. The LambdaRouters will connect, send and distribute data traffic on Global Crossing's multicable, trans-Atlantic optical network. Lucent plans to begin installing the systems this month, with completion scheduled for the third quarter of this year. Developed by Lucent's Bell Labs in 18 months, the LambdaRouter is 16 times faster than electronic switches used in communications networks and can route billions of e-mail messages every second. At the heart of the LambdaRouter are two sets of 256 microscopic mirrors, with each set on a one-square-inch silicon base. With the aid of sophisticated software, the mirrors are tilted to reflect, or direct, wavelengths from an incoming fiber to an outgoing fiber route, thus eliminating the slow and power-consuming conversion to electrical signals in today's long-haul networks. "Lucent's LambdaRouter provides our Atlantic mesh network with improved speed, reliability and failure protection," said Wally Dawson, executive vice president of Global Network at Global Crossing. "Maintaining all-optical traffic through the LambdaRouter will enable Global Crossing to offer 'instant Internet' and deliver other high-speed data and video services more quickly, securely and cost effectively."