SAN FRANCISCO ( TheStreet) -- Networking specialist Riverbed ( RVBD) is teaming up with Verizon ( VZ - Get Report) as part of a deal to boost traffic across corporate networks.

The telecom giant has chosen Riverbed to provide part of the technology backbone for a managed service aimed at improving application efficiency over wide area networks (WANs). These could be, for example, videos or specialized business apps such as finance and computer-aided design.

Verizon already works with Cisco ( CSCO - Get Report) and Juniper ( JNPR - Get Report) to support its Managed WAN Optimization Services, but will now add Riverbed to this mix.

"This is great," Apurva Dave, Riverbed's vice president of product marketing, told TheStreet. "It's more of a golden stamp than a rubber stamp."

Riverbed touts its Steelhead appliances and software as a way for companies to improve traffic across long-distance corporate networks. These will now be added to Verizon's service, which is managed from the telco's data centers and at customer sites.

Analyst firm Gartner says that the WAN optimization market was worth $1.2 billion in 2009, and is expected to enjoy a double-digit annual growth rate over the next few years.

Dave told TheStreet that the Verizon deal strengthens Riverbed's position against "other incumbent networking providers", a clear reference to Cisco and Juniper. The San Francisco firm rarely misses an opportunity to trash-talk its rivals, and is enjoying strong sales growth.

Riverbed's revenue grew 27% year over year in its recent first-quarter results, boosted by demand for WAN optimization.

The company's stock has also risen over 77% in the last 12 months, although Riverbed was downgraded by BofA/Merrill Lynch last month on a valuation basis. Riverbed's stock was at $31.55 in extended trading on Monday.

Like many firms, Riverbed is also making a song-and-dance about cloud computing. In November, for example, the company launched a virtual, or software-based, Steelhead aimed at service providers and enterprises building cloud infrastructure.

AT&T ( T - Get Report), BT ( BT) and Orange Business Services were present at the virtual Steelhead launch, and Riverbed says that it is working with all three companies around managed services.

-- Reported by James Rogers in New York

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