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September 2, 2009
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) now talks about its 7750 Service Router as a core-router contender, and it got some evidence to back up that claim today, with Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) saying its next-generation backbone is being built on AlcaLu gear.
Even better for AlcaLu is that the 7750 beat out a big-name incumbent. One source says that was Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO); Cisco officials weren't immediately available for comment.
Qwest said it also plans to deploy AlcaLu routers and switches around the network edge, and it's going to use AlcaLu's optical gear for ultra-long-haul transport as well. (See AlcaLu Hires Thomson R&D Man.)
Smaller carriers have used the 7750 in the core, but even AlcaLu has said, in the past, that that doesn't make the box a core router.
That tune changed last month with the 100-Gbit/s interface, which will theoretically let the 7750 take in 1 Tbit/s of traffic. AlcaLu officials say that puts the 7750 on the same competitive level as the Cisco CRS-1 and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) T1600. (See AlcaLu Hires Thomson R&D Man and AlcaLu Readies 100GigE Cards .)
AlcaLu officials point out that the network edge, where the 7750 normally resides, has to do more of the hard work these days, because it sifts through traffic and has to be able to distinguish among services and subscribers. The core "is really just becoming transport," AlcaLu VP of marketing Lindsay Newell told Light Reading in July.
Nabbing a big carrier could help AlcaLu cement a reputation for being able to handle that kind of transport. "Large service providers around the world can now start thinking about the 7750 fulfilling core-router needs," says Michael Howard, principal analyst with Infonetics.
The AlcaLu buildout is set to happen throughout 2010, Qwest's announcement says. (Qwest officials weren't available to comment to Light Reading.) That's nice timing, considering that 100-Gbit/s interfaces on the 7750 won't really be available until mid-2010.
While AlcaLu is certainly happy about the win, officials might want to note that Qwest seems to have tried just about everybody in the core. Back in 2001, when OC192 was a big deal, Qwest was using Juniper core routers. Around that time, it also dabbled with Avici Systems, which morphed into the now-defunct Soapstone Networks. (See Cisco and Juniper: It's War and Avici Drums Up Another Customer.)
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading
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