Light Reading

Alcatel-Lucent Thumbs Its Nose at Cisco

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto

Tuesday's announcement of a win with Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) is proof, once and for all, that Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) does so have a core router, IP division President Basil Alwan tells Light Reading.

You'll recall that in June, after Alcatel-Lucent announced the 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) executives dismissed it as just a big honkin' edge router. (See Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Clash Over Core Routers.)

On top of that, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), the first announced 7950 customer, is using the box for the metro core.

Alwan, who considers the 7950 his team's grandest accomplishment, now sees his chance to snipe back. Telefónica wants the router for the core, a spot currently occupied by Cisco and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR).

And while Telefónica is using the 7950 only in Argentina and the Czech Republic so far, the company has widespread plans for the router. "It's really a corporate-level thing. It's not just a few parts of Telefónica doing this," Alwan says.

One selling point will be the system's viability in both the metro and core networks, in Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and Label Switched Path (LSP) settings. "Traditionally, routing platforms have been single-purpose," Alwan says.

Cisco's main criticism of the 7950 was its scale, and specifically, that it doesn't do full multichassis routing, which is something Cisco has pegged as an IP-core necessity since the 2004 introduction of the CRS-1. One can connect two 7950s to make one big router, but the switching capability to connect three or more chassis hasn't shipped yet.

AlcaLu counters that such a capability is on the way and is needed in a tiny minority of cases -- and that the 7950 trumps Cisco and Juniper routers in density anyway. Packing the 7950 with dual 100Gbit/s Ethernet cards, the biggest cards available so far, adds up to 4Tbit/s of port capacity; a four-port card running in customers' labs ups that to 8Tbit/s per rack. Cisco's CRS-3 can only do 3.2Tbit/s.

The combination of density and features wowed enough Light Reading sources to earn the router a 2012 Leading Lights award.

The 7950, which began shipping for revenue this quarter, has four other unannounced customer wins and is in 20 trials, Alwan says.

For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading

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