August 31, 2011
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is introducing its new Smart Services Routers (SSR) 8000 line on Wednesday, claiming it's built an architecture better suited for the delivery of premium services.
The routers achieve the 400Gbit/s-per-slot specification that was rumored in December (see link below). The largest of the new line, the SSR 8020, has 20 slots.
More importantly, Ericsson officials say the SSRs are better designed for carrying premium services. Some of the differences are in the way the router prioritizes traffic; eight priority queues extend through the switch fabric, in contrast to typical routers where the switch fabric has a limited ability to prioritize traffic.
The switch fabric is also distributed among eight small switching elements, for redundancy. It's not as if switching cards fail all that frequently, but Ericsson wanted to give the router a better chance to survive any freak occurrences, thus protecting those premium services, says Michael Gronovius, an Ericsson head of product marketing.
Separately, Ericsson tells Light Reading that Georges Antoun, head of the IP and broadband business unit, has retired from the company, to be replaced by Jan Häglund. Antoun, who joined with the 2007 acquisition of Redback Networks, had been head of the business since 2008.
Antoun's plans are unknown, but one source points out that if he joins Metaswitch Networks it'll be one big Redback reunion. Kevin DeNuccio and Thomas L. Cronan III, Redback's former CEO and CFO, are holding those jobs with Metaswitch. (See Is Metaswitch Prepping Its IPO?)
Why this matters
Services have become the buzzword for routers as every vendor tries to find new ways to help carriers make money: Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has been calling its boxes "service routers" for years, for instance. The ability to best handle services and virtualization (think cloud computing) will likely be a central competitive element for router vendors in coming years.
Speaking of those usual speed metrics, it's clear that claims of 400Gbit/s slots are all the rage. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) started it with the ASR 9000, and AlcaLu recently followed suit.
Not everyone might be using "400Gbit/s" the same way, though. When AlcaLu officials say their routers can do 400 Gbit/s per slot, they mean the FP3 packet-processing chip receives 200 Gbit/s of traffic from the router interfaces while simultaneously sending 200 Gbit/s towards the switch fabric.
We don't yet have details on the reasons for Antoun's departure, but his replacement by Häglund will help Ericsson make its umlaut quota for the year. Ericsson has been going through some changes recently, including a trimming of its Silicon Valley staff.
A little more about edge routers in general and Ericsson in particular.
AlcaLu Issues 400G Router Challenge
Ericsson Signals New M&A Era
Cisco Fights Back at the Edge
Ericsson Snips 100 in Silicon Valley
Ericsson Unveils New IP Gear
Ericsson Chairman Resigns From Board
Rumor: Ericsson Preps for 400G Per Slot (registration required)
Redbacker DeNuccio Becomes Metaswitch CEO
DeNuccio Replaced at Redback
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading
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