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Cisco Launches Metro Switch

Light Reading
NFOEC News Analysis
Light Reading

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

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:26 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
Ummm...no...."Manhattan" was the 15232 as reported by Light Reading (http://www.lightreading.com/do... and the 15600 is called CXC. Get your facts straight before spouting off incorrect statements.

psmith wrote,"CSCO's 'new' box appears to be the well-known erstwhile stealth project called 'Manhattan'."
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:24 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
First of all Cisco has not published any performance numbers. It cannot be taken for granted that ONs 15530 can function suceesfully and flawlessly in a large metro environment. The recovery feature of the switch is not clear. The switch does not address multi-layer recovery. The worst case recovery is also not covered by the switch. The time of recovery in various failed scenarios is not addressed. In view of these and more facts not so far examined may hamper the deployment of switch in the carriers' environment.

It is al;so not clear what kind of provisioning function does the switch provide. The management of the switch is also not clear. If the management and provisioning functions cannot be integrated with the OSS's of public carrier, the use of switch is limited to only Cisco created networks.

Cisco has kept the pricing structure of the swich a secret. Since there are many metro switches in the market place, the fairness and rationale of pricing structure cannot be evaluated. The non-disclosure of prices can prevent further sales of the switch barring two very very small carriers.

Since switch 15530 requires DWDM instead of cheaper CWDM, the cost metro ring with Switch 15530 will become prohibitive.

It is also not clear how mant wavelengths Cico can multiples. Lucent, for example, can multiplex over 128 wavelengths per fiber. It is not clear if Cisco can do the same thing.

It is also not clear: what kind of optical signaling does Cisco provide? If standards have not been followed, it could affect the interoperability of equipment from other vendors.

It is also not clear how Cisco will address the scalability issues. To compete on a fair basis, Cisco should provide full verifiable disclosures.
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:44:18 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

Do you serious think Europeans talk anything other than English?
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