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Optical/IP

Cisco Launches Metro Switch

DALLAS -- NFOEC -- Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) announced Monday a souped-up multiservice switch that combines the function of several Sonet optical add/drop multiplexers (ADMs) and a broadband digital crossconnect.

The switch is designed to sit in larger metropolitan networks, where it aggregates, grooms, and switches traffic from the ADMs sitting on the metro rings. Carriers now perform those functions by combining several ADMs for transport and aggregation and using a broadband digital crossconnect for switching.

One appeal to a box such as the ONS 15600 is that it eliminates several boxes and frees up space in carrier central offices. But to some, it may be taking on too many tasks at once. "It's very God-box-like," says Mark Lutkowitz, VP of Communications Industry Researchers Inc. "It should be more simple. The Cerent box was like that."

Interestingly, one network element the ONS 15600 could replace would be Cisco's ONS 15454 ADM, the first and arguably most famous product in its optical networking portfolio. Cisco says it's not worried about losing business to its new product; the company says any displaced ONS 15454s could always be redeployed in a carrier's other metro rings.

That said, the ONS 15600 is a dense metro switch. The box has a 320-Gbit/s switch fabric and handles 384 OC48 (2.5 Gbit/s) connections per rack. With that kind of density, it could compete with Ciena Corp.'s (Nasdaq: CIEN) CoreDirector switch, the current market leader in long-haul applications, which is sometimes used in the metro core.

Cisco, which often innovates by acquisition, says this particular product was developed 100 percent by Cisco hands. Of course, some of the Cisco hands that developed the hardware came from Cisco when it acquired Monterey Networks, a failed core optical switch maker. Many of the other hands came to Cisco from Cerent, where a good bit of the ONS 15600 software code was initially authored.

The product was developed in Cisco's Richardson, Texas, facility in about 18 months time, according to David Lively, Cisco's senior manager for optical strategy. It is expected to ship in the fourth quarter of this year and will be done with the Osmine certification process by March 2003, he says.

Two customers -- U.S. Signal, a Michigan-based competitive local exchange carrier, and Looking Glass Networks, an Illinois-based wholesale carrier -- are currently putting the ONS 15600 through its paces in network trials, Cisco says.

"I think they've hit a sweet spot in the industry," says Peter Evans, CEO of Optovation. Evans says the box could provide a huge boon to large service providers "if it can do everything Cisco's says it can do."

The new Cisco switch may help the company land more carrier sales as it adds yet another piece to a growing optical networking portfolio. However, the ONS 15600 isn't for everyone. Lively says there are "probably less than 100" carriers in the U.S. that have metro networks large enough to require such a switch.

— Phil Harvey, Senior Editor, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com
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jamesbond 12/4/2012 | 9:46:06 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch isn't this what Polaris is doing? If so, who is
going to acquire Polaris now? Ciena?
wilecoyote 12/4/2012 | 9:46:05 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch Yeah, but will it matter? CSCO is HATED by the RBOCs.

Still you have to applaud the fact that CSCO finally got something going and developed/delivered with internal engineering resources. Hardly home grown, looks more like the Frankenstein of metro God boxes, but it's a start.
lilgatsby 12/4/2012 | 9:46:05 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch CIENA's CoreDirector has years of field experience and owns this market with around 55%, but this appears to be the first real product that might offer some competition. It is lagging in a few areas out of the gate, but could prove for an interesting race in the long-run. Let's just hope Monteray people didn't touch this design too much...

15600
* 320Gb shelf all available until late 2003
(1/2 capacity of CD)
* Mesh? Did I miss this?
* If ports are 4:1 then this is a limited design from a modular view
* Virtual ring support? Or is it bound by physical topology? Didn't see mention anywhere.
* GMPLS?
* 32 x OC-192 or 128 x OC-48, any other software selectable speeds (OC-3/12?) (Again, 1/2 CD)

lg
red1969 12/4/2012 | 9:46:04 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch Jeez! Unlike who?? Juniper, Ciena??? C'mon get real will you.


Cisco, which often innovates by acquisition, says this particular product was developed 100 percent by Cisco hands. Of course, some of the Cisco hands that developed the hardware came from Cisco when it acquired Monterey Networks, a failed core optical switch maker. Many of the other hands came to Cisco from Cerent, where a good bit of the ONS 15600 software code was initially authored.
netskeptic 12/4/2012 | 9:46:02 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch What about granularity of the flows ?

Thanks,

Netskeptic
SiO2 12/4/2012 | 9:46:00 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch netskeptic writes:

> What about granularity of the flows ?

if they're positioning it against the
coredirector, then STS-1.

jamesbond writes:

> isn't this what Polaris is doing?

per the recent release, the polaris
offering scales to 2T and is able to
cross-connect at VT1.5 granularity.
in theory, the polaris box would
make a nice scalable front-end to
the announced cisco box for grooming
backhauled legacy voice, particularly
for applications where the cerrent
box (should it survive) doesn't
provide enough cross-connect
capacity or compelling economics.

SiO2

edgecore 12/4/2012 | 9:46:00 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
The 15600 is a combination of ADM and crossconnect...aren't all optical grooming switches a combination of those two products?

Ciena
HDX
Corvis

Let me know...EC
Belzebutt 12/4/2012 | 9:45:59 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch How is this a multiservice switch? I thought multiservices switches generally do ATM, IP and other stuff. This seems like a combo cross-connect/ADM.
belas_knap 12/4/2012 | 9:45:58 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch
How is this a multiservice switch? I thought multiservices switches generally do ATM, IP and other stuff. This seems like a combo cross-connect/ADM.
-----------------------------------------------

good point- from what I've seen, they've only announced the SONET/SDH part of the switch. But in presentations they show not only the STS-1 switching for SONET but also GigE and DWDM in the same platform. If the release strategy follows the other 15000 products, expect to see this by Christmas.
hitekeng 12/4/2012 | 9:45:58 PM
re: Cisco Launches Metro Switch With 384 2.5G's per rack and the switching core, it is more like a glorified HDX+OM3500 combo for those of you familiar with the Nortel lingo. It would also be a cerent's ONS15454 + Ciena's CoreDirector. If it lives up to its hype and is fully OSMINE'd by March, then god have mercy (as even their GigE services may be OSMINE-compliant under Telcordia's NCON)...
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