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Cisco Launches Metro Switch

Light Reading
NFOEC News Analysis
Light Reading
9/16/2002
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DALLAS -- NFOEC -- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) announced Monday a souped-up multiservice switch that combines the function of several Sonet optical add/drop multiplexers (ADMs) and a broadband digital crossconnect.

The switch is designed to sit in larger metropolitan networks, where it aggregates, grooms, and switches traffic from the ADMs sitting on the metro rings. Carriers now perform those functions by combining several ADMs for transport and aggregation and using a broadband digital crossconnect for switching.

One appeal to a box such as the ONS 15600 is that it eliminates several boxes and frees up space in carrier central offices. But to some, it may be taking on too many tasks at once. "It's very God-box-like," says Mark Lutkowitz, VP of Communications Industry Researchers Inc. "It should be more simple. The Cerent box was like that."

Interestingly, one network element the ONS 15600 could replace would be Cisco's ONS 15454 ADM, the first and arguably most famous product in its optical networking portfolio. Cisco says it's not worried about losing business to its new product; the company says any displaced ONS 15454s could always be redeployed in a carrier's other metro rings.

That said, the ONS 15600 is a dense metro switch. The box has a 320-Gbit/s switch fabric and handles 384 OC48 (2.5 Gbit/s) connections per rack. With that kind of density, it could compete with Ciena Corp.'s (Nasdaq: CIEN) CoreDirector switch, the current market leader in long-haul applications, which is sometimes used in the metro core.

Cisco, which often innovates by acquisition, says this particular product was developed 100 percent by Cisco hands. Of course, some of the Cisco hands that developed the hardware came from Cisco when it acquired Monterey Networks, a failed core optical switch maker. Many of the other hands came to Cisco from Cerent, where a good bit of the ONS 15600 software code was initially authored.

The product was developed in Cisco's Richardson, Texas, facility in about 18 months time, according to David Lively, Cisco's senior manager for optical strategy. It is expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year and will be done with the Osmine certification process by March 2003, he says.

Two customers -- U.S. Signal, a Michigan-based competitive local exchange carrier, and Looking Glass Networks, an Illinois-based wholesale carrier -- are currently putting the ONS 15600 through its paces in network trials, Cisco says.

"I think they've hit a sweet spot in the industry," says Peter Evans, CEO of Optovation. Evans says the box could provide a huge boon to large service providers "if it can do everything Cisco's says it can do."

The new Cisco switch may help the company land more carrier sales as it adds yet another piece to a growing optical networking portfolio. However, the ONS 15600 isn't for everyone. Lively says there are "probably less than 100" carriers in the U.S. that have metro networks large enough to require such a switch.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com

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Ringed?
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Ringed?,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:56 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
While this could be a good announcement for the metro "Carriers Carrier" we'll have to wait and see if Cisco did their homework.

To sell to RBOC's the 15600 should have BLSR &(UPSR should be a slam dunk) in addition to OSMINE, as stated. Remember, the "Carriers Carrier" model is vastly different from an RBOC's.

It will be interesting to see if has support for SDH natively or if it picks up Sonet tribs that have already been converted from SDH from a 15454. This could be important on Hudson St.

The 15600 will need OC-192 for certain. This article doesn't mention support for that. Interesting, did LR not ask?

What about interoperability? Does this box terminate the DCC like CoreDirector? If so, then the "dog ate the homework". Since the 15454 is an IP based DCC system it would stand to reason that the 15600 is too. You can forget about managing a Nortel/LU/Alcatel/Fujitsui box across the Cisco network. Anyone know for sure? Ahh.. If you eliminate "several elements" that's not an issue, right? Just replace them with 15454's, duh.

What about the nemesis of the NextGen Sonet world, VT 1.5 switching? Sounds like the wrong box to put VT in but if you have to drop off to a bunch of 15454's just to do VT switching what have you really accomplished. Maybe that's why Cisco isn't worried about loosing 15454 businesses.

How about that switch fabric. Is it centralized like the 15454? If it is centralized that is a heck of a startup cost and tough to justify unless you need (approx) 30, OC192's or 128 OC48's in the metro.

Speaking of switching capacity. The 15600 must be 23" wide. I would be shocked if it was 19". At any rate, my calculations show the 15600 has 16 OC48 user slots with 8 ports each, (not sure about common equipment). 320/16=20/2.5=8 that would make 128 OC48's per shelf and 3 per rack.
Can anyone confirm or deny?

What about OC192? Assuming 16 slots; Is it only 16 per shelf or can they squeeze 32 out of a shelf. I think that dress is too tight for the gorilla. Anyone?

As for Light Reading: Lots of folkGÇÖs unemployed. Homework grade: C-
Ringed?
belas_knap
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belas_knap,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:55 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
To sell to RBOC's the 15600 should have BLSR &(UPSR should be a slam dunk) in addition to OSMINE, as stated. Remember, the "Carriers Carrier" model is vastly different from an RBOC's.

-> Yep, it has. MS-SPRing/SNCP also.

It will be interesting to see if has support for SDH natively or if it picks up Sonet tribs that have already been converted from SDH from a 15454. This could be important on Hudson St.

-> Native SDH designed in from Day 1 as well as the ability for tunnelling of SONET through SDH. The SDH will probably appear in the market early next year as the product goes through trials & certifications - this takes longer than SONEt markets typically.

The 15600 will need OC-192 for certain. This article doesn't mention support for that. Interesting, did LR not ask?

-> The 15600 presentation mentioned the following :
Cisco ONS 15600 is optimized for todayGÇÖs high-bandwidth TDM metro networksGǪ
Fully redundant 320-Gbps switch fabric
384 OC-48/STM-16 ports per rack (3 shelfs/rack)
96 OC-192/STM-64 ports per rack
At current densities, future multi-shelf configurations can reach 5.12 Tbps total capacity

What about interoperability? Does this box terminate the DCC like CoreDirector?

-> Again, quoted 128 DCC channels today, unlimited APS or unprotected connections without DCC.


How about that switch fabric. Is it centralized like the 15454? If it is centralized that is a heck of a startup cost and tough to justify unless you need (approx) 30, OC192's or 128 OC48's in the metro.

-> Not sure about this, but it looks like 1 switch fabric card per shelf, each shelf carrying 8 slots of 40G per slot (160G in future release per slot) for interface/trib cards. Slots can accommodate OC48/OC192 cards in the initial release. OC-192 cards are 4 port, OC-48 are 16 port. This would mean (unless somebody knows different) that it support 32xOC-192 per shelf, 128 OC-48 or a combination based on line cards.

psmith
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psmith,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:53 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch

Glad to read a thoughtful posting in a loooong time..

CSCO's 'new' box appears to be the well-known erstwhile stealth project called 'Manhattan'. The 18 months stated to develop this project apparently does not disclose the 'connivance' of chip vendors who co-developed fabrics with now defunct startups. Once the exclusivity is expired, guess where a PMC or VTSS will turn to ?

Also, do not shed any tear for cannibalization of 15454. 15600 is clearly is a different class of device meant to rack up more 15454 sales.

15454 - an enhanced ADM replacement :
In the TDM lineup (ie SONET or SDH), devices are classified as Section, Line or Path terminating, 15454 includes PTE support, ie looks inside the SONET payload (so in turn has to be LTE and STE).

15600 - a payload transparent STS-1 switch:
I repeat, just a switch, no opening up and examining the STS-1 payload (unlike the 15454).
With a granularity of STS-1 TDM compartments, 15600 aggregates multiple 15454 and re-directs (like the CIEN core-director) STS-1 payloads. This can be single or multiple wavelengths.
Of cource CSCO, like ONI can claim it switches any protocol on any lambda... duh !

The issue of DCC transparency is vital based on the reliance of the provider on an incumbent vendor its interop requirements. The signalling and routing info is passed on the DCC line or section bits at 192/96 kbps rates.


gumbydammit
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gumbydammit,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:51 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch

Wile, checked with the RBOCs lately re: hating CSCO? Let me give you 2 reasons that may NOT be so true anymore.

1/ CSCO may be the only man left standing....
2/ CSCO owns the enterprise customers, one of the last remaining revenue streams left.

Nuf said?
I think so.
/gd.

before, you said....

Yeah, but will it matter? CSCO is HATED by the RBOCs.

Still you have to applaud the fact that CSCO finally got something going and developed/delivered with internal engineering resources. Hardly home grown, looks more like the Frankenstein of metro God boxes, but it's a start.
Ringed?
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Ringed?,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:50 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
Rock on belas_knap! You could have just sent the presentation instead :)

Ringed?
ritefiber
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ritefiber,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:46 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
Looking at the Polaris switch which was also announced, it is way ahead of Cisco's in terms of new gen metro functionality. A TDM STS-1 only switch is going to have a tough selling time uness they give it away.
sp@mmer
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sp@mmer,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:42 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
> Looking at the Polaris switch which was also
> announced, it is way ahead of Cisco's in terms
> of new gen metro functionality. A TDM STS-1
> only switch is going to have a tough selling
> time uness they give it away.

Yes and RBOCs just love buying equipment from a cash-strapped startup, right? :-)

I bet Polaris isn't even sure it will be around to service their equipment in the field, if it makes it out there.... :-(



spegru
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spegru,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:40 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
I liked this quote 'The product was developed in Cisco's Richardson, Texas, facility in about 18 months time'

Should that read 'The product 'will be' developed in Cisco's Richardson, Texas, facility in about 18 months time'??? ;-)

Seriously though, this is a new box that is therefore smaller, higher capacity etc etc than offerings that have been around for a while.

Only one problem though - it's made by Cisco and all the Telcos hate them. They only deal with them on data because they perceive little choice - and that ain't the case for this kind of box.

In these days of tight capex I can see them staying with (and I didn't expect to say this, even a couple of months ago) Marconi - at least in Europe

spegru (not working for Marconi)
scooby
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scooby,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:31 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
It will be interesting to see whether the RBOCs prefer learning a new language (German, French, or Finnish) to dealing with CSCO as the other North American vendors are systematically acquired.

BTW, who has the cash for this type of equipment these days?
belas_knap
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belas_knap,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:30 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
Rock on belas_knap! You could have just sent the presentation instead :)

Ringed?

-------------------------------

Don't have it unfortunately - just made some notes at NFOEC. Was pretty slick, though.
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