AlcaLu Issues 400G Router Challenge

The answer to the company's Hollywood-thriller mystery is a new network processor that takes the 7750 router to 2 Tbit/s in port capacity

Craig Matsumoto, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

June 28, 2011

2 Min Read
AlcaLu Issues 400G Router Challenge

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is boosting its 7750 Service Router to 2 Tbit/s in port capacity -- that is, 10 cards each carrying two 100Gbit/s interfaces -- through the introduction of its FP3 network processor.

The Hollywood-style hype around Tuesday morning's announcement turns out to be directed at the FP3 itself, which AlcaLu claims can support 400 Gbit/s of traffic. Cards using the FP3 -- one with two 100Gbit/s ports and another with 20 10Gbit/s ports -- will be commercially available in mid-2012; AlcaLu has sample cards running in demos today.

Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) is shipping 100Gbit/s interfaces for its T-series core routers (and they're being used by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)) and expects to ship 100Gbit/s for its MX 3D routers by the end of the year. Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) has two-port 100Gbit/s cards in trials with customers including Amsterdam Internet Exchange B.V. (AMS-IX) and is "days or weeks" away from general availability, a spokesman tells Light Reading via email.

Just earlier this month, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) announced two-port 100Gbit/s cards for the ASR 9000.

Why this matters
The FP3 -- really a two-chip set consisting of a packet processor and a traffic manager -- lets AlcaLu continue to claim bragging rights in network processors, the chips that handle packet forwarding in routers and switches.

What's important isn't the 100Gbit/s interface or the 2Tbit/s metric, but the fact that the FP3 chip gives the 7750 more headroom than the competition appears to have. The company considers itself ready for 400Gbit/s Ethernet, for instance, which could be supported with two FP3s on a card.

Other companies' dual 100Gbit/s cards probably use multiple network processors, giving them a power and cost disadvantage, writes Simon Stanley, principal analyst with Earlswood Marketing Ltd. , in an email to Light Reading.

Stanley also notes that the FP3 is "lifting the 7750 into the same performance band as the T4000 and CRS-3," the core routers from Juniper and Cisco, respectively.

For more
Here's some recent news about the 100Gbit/s generation of router interfaces and network processors, and some AlcaLu background going back to 2008.

  • AlcaLu Goes to Hollywood

  • Cisco Fights Back at the Edge

  • Verizon Readies 100G Launch in US

  • Juniper's 100G Edge

  • 100G Watch: Brocade Goes Big

  • Interview: Basil Alwan & Lindsay Newell, AlcaLu IP Division

  • AlcaLu Trash-Talks Cisco on 100G

  • AlcaLu Readies 100GigE Cards

  • Chipping Away at Cisco's ASR 9000

  • AlcaLu Beefs Up Its Routers

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Craig Matsumoto

Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

Yes, THAT Craig Matsumoto – who used to be at Light Reading from 2002 until 2013 and then went away and did other stuff and now HE'S BACK! As Editor-in-Chief. Go Craig!!

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