Alcatel-Lucent pitched itself into the data center interconnect (DCI) fray Wednesday with the launch of its single-port 400G router line card with integrated DWDM optical capabilities, which it believes can help network operators make their data center-to-data center connections, as well as their metro-to-core network connections, more efficient.
Like many equipment suppliers, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is keen to grab a slice of the action in the DCI market, a market pioneered by BTI Systems Inc. and now attracting a lot of attention from packet-optical transport vendors including the likes of ADVA Optical Networking , Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Cyan Inc. , Infinera Corp. (Nasdaq: INFN) and more. (See Top 5 Optical Trends for 2015, OIF's FlexEthernet Project Targets DCI and Cyan Targets DCI With 34 Terabit Platform.)
So the vendor is highlighting its ability to enable "clear channel" 400G data transmission between its router systems at distances of "hundreds of kilometers" and in doing so to "quadruple the speed of connections and significantly boost capacity between data centers and networks." By clear channel it means that the traffic runs across a single 400GigE interface, as opposed to aggregating four 100GigE links: AlcaLu states that its single-port IP-over-DWDM approach is operationally more simple and more efficient and claims it's the first company to enable this.
That's a notable claim, as Cisco has had its Network Convergence System (NCS) routers with the 400Gbit/s nPower X1 processor in the market for a while and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has long been talking up the success of its 400G router platform: It seems operators have at least been ready to be early adopters of the 4 x 100G aggregation option. (See Broadnet Gets 400G-Ready With Huawei, Huawei Pressures Its 400G Router Rivals, Cisco Unveils Carrier SDN Network Fabric and Cisco Aims New Chip at SDN, M2M.)
That efficiency is set to be enhanced later this year for operators that deploy the 400G line card, as the vendor is also introducing packet and optical control plane coordination using a feature it calls GMPLS-UNI (Generalized Multiprotocol Label Switching User Network Interface).
Key to the vendor's proposition is that the deployment of the line card, built around its FP3 network processor, does not require a chassis upgrade for existing Alcatel-Lucent 7750 router customers (of which there are many), as the card slots into the vendor's 7750 and 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS) products.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading