February 1, 2010
Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX) is adding Carrier Ethernet to its flagship C7 Multiservice Access Platform, at last moving the box beyond that awkward Time-Division Multiplexing (TDM) phase.
The company today is announcing new 10-Gbit/s Ethernet switch cards, called RAP-10GEs, along with four new linecards for the C7. (See Calix Boosts C7, Adds ONTs.)
Calix is hoping to go public on the strength of the C7's installed base as well as the growing potential of Ethernet services. In the latter case, Calix introduced the E7 Ethernet Service Access Platform in November. (See Calix Files for an IPO and Calix Catches Ethernet Fever .)
The RAP-10GE cards target service providers that are pushing more 10-Gbit/s Ethernet links in their networks, usually as a byproduct of heavier video loads. The C7's cards use the same Ethernet software kernel as what's on the E7, and the two systems will be able to automatically recognize one another on the network, making implementation go more quickly.
The cards also open up more backplane capacity on the C7. The system has always had a 200-Gbit/s redundant backplane. (See Calix Comes Out.) But only about one fourth of that capacity was being used before now, says Calix director of marketing Geoff Burke. Insertion of the new Ethernet cards completes the connection of particular traces that open up the additional capacity (and there's more that can be tapped, Burke claims).
"What we've done on the 10-Gbit/s RAP is turned up a significant number of those traces," Burke says. The RAP-10GE cards would occupy one or two (for redundancy) of the C7's three slots for "common controls," as Calix words it. To feed the RAPs, Calix is introducing linecards such as the OLTG-4E, an updated version of the C7's four-port GPON card.
A RAP-10GE card can switch 150 Gbit/s of traffic, which is kept segregated from TDM traffic. In a sense, the C7 becomes a split-personality box. Calix is also introducing a converter card, the Ethernet Gateway (EGW), that links the two halves.
Of course, the RAP-10GE cards could be used to turn the C7 into an exclusively Ethernet box. In this way, Calix is catering to the longstanding carrier demand for systems that accommodate a gradual shift to Ethernet.
"One of the digs at the C7 over time was that it's an ATM box. We've been fighting that for years," Burke says.
One customer is already deploying the RAPs: Cimarron Telephone Co., a subsidiary of MBO Corp., in Oklahoma.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading
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