Calix Catches More Ethernet Fever

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

bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 4:43:46 PM
re: Calix Catches More Ethernet Fever ASICS are all based on ATM/TDM. Adding 10G Ethernet based on the design is costly.

I would recommend service providers to use an Ethernet switch company to aggregate the C7 resulting in better CAPEX economics lower OPEX in the mid-long term and allow them to then offer a scalable Ethernet solution versus adding blades to the C7 to an old ATM/TDM box. IMO
MMQoS 12/5/2012 | 4:43:45 PM
re: Calix Catches More Ethernet Fever


While you are correct about the C7 architecture being basically ATM based, the cost of the 10G addition is Calix's issue.  Whether they can/will pass that cost on to their customers is more driven by market dynamics and having a 10GE interface is table stakes these days.  So when will they offer 100GE? 


paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:43:44 PM
re: Calix Catches More Ethernet Fever

If you look at the S-1, you will see they have no choice but to pass the cost along.  Their margins are in the 30s and they are losing money hand over fist.  So, they don't have the option to give away product.




bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 4:43:35 PM
re: Calix Catches More Ethernet Fever

Good posts.

Calix is way behind on 10Gbe - Pannaway/Enablence and Occam have had 10G for some time on the trunking side while Calix has used OC48.

Perhaps a taste of Mahi Mahi..

My poem for the day/year:

The hyped and overrated  Calix.. whose technology promise you cannot count on. They never say a foolish Marketing thing...but never build a real product on.








paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:43:34 PM
re: Calix Catches More Ethernet Fever


Wait, you certainly can't blame Kevin Pope for the availability of 10GigE on Calix's platforms.  He has not been there long enough to blame for that.

The real problem is on the business side.  They are spending a lot of money in R&D for in essence no top line growth.  I have seen that story before in the later days of AFC.  Basically the small carrier business has a total capacity for product.  Calix has gotten what it is going to get and it has done so at low/mid-30s in margins.  They are now massively over investing in their existing platforms with no real growth strategy.

They need to either get a new product line to sell in a different market segment or a new set of customers.  AFC chose the latter.  Other than that, there is not really anywhere for Calix to go.

But bollocks, they have shipped well over $1B of product.  That is real no matter how you look at it.  Occam and the rest have yet to challenge Calix in the Tier 2s.  Their main rival there is Adtran.

Even as an ATM/TDM box, they have a lot of installed base which gives them a huge advantage as they sell plugs into that base.  Without a lot of line growth, it is then the conversion to FTTH which drives revenue.  Calix is way ahead of the small carrier rivals in product for PON.  So, it is not clear that they are losing - just that they are stuck.



bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 4:43:32 PM
re: Calix Catches More Ethernet Fever

$1Billion in sales with how much VC investment $500Million ?

Agree on the R&D spend need to drastically reduce to get in line. The Mahi mahi comment is trying to "invested" in an outdated platfrom.  Kevin is a good guy but he did overstretch and take MAHI down the wrong R&D design path. He does not have any prior access metro product space experience so yet to see a succesfuly product in his own portfolio, he may invest more in the C7 then that would be fishy imo.

Hard to get a new product line since they have no people with experience to create such a product. Most of their newer platforms are in fact OEM products simply rebranding at the request of the customer especially the Tier 2 guys is short term gain imo.

Yes they have bought the market with over $700M in VC sunk in, a ZHONE feat no less, and with  sales  close to $1B ....they still do not have enough money in the bank. As for filling slots in the platorm that may be true - AFC did that for a while as well without truly investing in its next generation HDUMC and therefore opening the door for the likes of Calix - okay Schofield the happy  retired Arizona CEO helped by doing many...many retard things. AFC at its prime had GM of 50% and cash +ve with $150M on hand even before the Cerent windfall.

Calix is stuck as you say - it is a big fish in a little pond.  


Tesla_x 12/5/2012 | 4:43:26 PM
re: Calix Catches More Ethernet Fever

The comparison to Zhone is appropriate,I think.

Also, buying marketshare is not a long term growth guarentee without a competitive product and a strategy for stopping the red ink from bleeding you to death.

It sounds like they need to go IPO, hope they get a decent price and participation (war che$t) from the investment community, and quickly acquire a smaller, healthier competitor with an established RUS approved product line.


bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 4:43:18 PM
re: Calix Catches More Ethernet Fever

Russo for years used to shy away from an IPO making political claims as he does not need to go that route. Now I am confident he is hell bent on making it happen or he will look like a dud and have to sink more of the 'free' money he collect fromt the Cerent deal.

Once he has the cash then he will spin and make something more substantial out of the venture - he is a shrewd/crafty politician after all. Obama like if you will- sell and spin.



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