September 25, 2003
At the beginning of this year, Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) didn’t have a product that addressed the market for converged IP/MPLS backbones.
Now it’s got two.
It’s got a multi-service switch/router, the Tellabs 8800, courtesy of its acquisition of Vivace in May (see Tellabs Snags Vivace for $135M). And now it's got the Tellabs 8600, a home-grown platform aimed at the same market, announced today (see Tellabs Unveils Edge Router).
The idea is that these boxes will work together in carrier networks. The new 8600 is a lower-capacity (42-Gbit/s) edge router optimized for providing Layer 2 and 3 MPLS VPNs in access and regional networks. The 8800 is a bigger beast, designed to sit deeper in the network. It has a capacity of 160 Gbit/s, which can scale to 2.5 Tbit/s, according to Tellabs. It boasts some functions not found on the 8600, aimed at enabling carriers to migrate legacy Frame Relay and ATM services onto IP/MPLS backbones.
In a Light Reading Webinar on IP/MPLS backbones yesterday, Paymon Mogharabi, product line manager for the Tellabs 8800, contended that the box's flow-based multiservice switching was the only surefire way of guaranteeing quality of service for legacy services – a critical issue for carriers.
Another speaker in the Webinar, Azhar Sayeed, product line manager in the IOS division of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), begged to differ. He said hardware improvements now mean there's little to choose between multiservice switches and the latest edge routers in this regard.
Tellabs' acquisition of Vivace had a lot to do with the development of the 8600 in its R&D facility in Finland. During development work, Tellabs realized it would need a high-capacity box, and along came Vivace with just such an animal, and a similar vision of how converged IP/MPLS backbones would evolve. "Everything resonated with how we saw things," says Mika Heikkinen, vice president of Tellabs Managed Access Solutions and general manager of Tellabs Finland.
Heikkinen says the combination of the 8600 and 8800 "will kill the complexity of MPLS networks." Tellabs will bring the two boxes under the control of a common management system, so that carriers can provision services from a central console.
The 8600 is already in trials with TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN) and will ship in the first half of next year. A U.S. launch is planned in a couple of months' time, according to Mike Kazban, Tellabs' vice president of marketing for advanced data products.
— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading
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