Ethernet equipment

Calix Catches Ethernet Fever

Multiservice access vendor Calix Inc. (NYSE: CALX) has produced its first all-Ethernet system, a modular pizza box that the company says can be built up to terabit size.

To tie the new E7 platform to this week's TelcoTV 2009 event in Orlando, Fla., Calix is emphasizing the industry's expectations of a video-heavy future for Ethernet networks.

The E7 is an all-Ethernet alternative to C7, Calix's multiservice platform. But there's more afoot than that. The small E7s -- one rack-unit pizza boxes with two slots apiece -- pack 100 Gbit/s of switching capacity, and 10 of them can be hooked up to perform as a single 1-Tbit/s switch with one IP address.

The E7 still targets access, though. Its first linecards sport Gigabit Ethernet and GPON ports with 10-Gbit/s Ethernet uplinks. But Calix thinks the terabit factor will come into play eventually.

"Each individual port and each individual subscriber is going to be utilizing tens of megabits [per second] of capacity in order to address their demand over time. We built this with headroom for a 10- to 15-year life cycle," says Geoff Burke, Calix's director of marketing.

He says Calix wanted an all-Ethernet box because the company couldn't ignore the center-stage role Ethernet is taking in carriers' plans. (See AT&T: Ethernet Is It .) Multiservice boxes like the C7 allow for a cautious migration to Ethernet, and the E7 was built with that strategy as well. Even though it's designed to be a very big switch, carriers can start with just one pizza-box. "You don't have to bet the farm that you're going to have high take rates on an advanced service in a part of your network," Burke says.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to TelcoTV 2009, the telecom industry’s premier event for the exploration of a comprehensive entertainment convergence strategy, to be staged in Orlando, Fla., November 10-12. For more information, or to register, click here.

COMMENTS Add Comment
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Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:52:52 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever

I like the modular (meta-modular?) idea here, of being able to build up a terabit box in 100G slivers.  The concept isn't new in general but I think it's the first time I've seen it applied to anything this big.  Or am I missing something?

Fotons 12/5/2012 | 3:52:51 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever

Are you getting charged by the word, Brookseven?  Are you channeling Calvin Coolidge?  Do you need to buy a vowel?

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:52:51 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever Redundancy.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:52:44 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever


Redundant data paths.  This would include (but not be completely restricted to) redundant interconnect between the slices of 100Gb/s (since this has to scale to 1Tbb/s) as well as LAG between ports on separate slices.

Everything you mentioned is CONTROL redundancy.  Understand better now?



BeThePacket 12/5/2012 | 3:52:44 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever


Dedicated A/B DC power feeds with alarming.

NVRAM Active / Backup configuration.

Master / Slave Controller within single shelf or between shelves for the entire stack.

Single Management IP regardless of stack size.

100 GB backplane in each 1 RU as one stacks up to 10.

This is a home run that many have talked about but Calix seems to have nailed it.

Looks like some copper services need to be added but overall this looks like a sweet solution.  There are 4 RJ-21 Amphenols on the back so it looks like that was thought of.  Go see it at Telco TV if your there.  There is no substitute for your own research as LR says.

Whats not redundant? help us understand please.

Occam, Enablence, Adtran, Zhone and others are probably scrambling to figure out if they can be a fast follower or not.


^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 3:52:43 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever


I hear you about redundancy.  However, a quick question, who's or which platform in the market today has such "Path" redundancy?



paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:52:41 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever


Most of the high end routers have one or more forms of redundancy.  This would include LAG support between plug-ins.

I think non-redundant systems have their place but at the bandwidth levels of this product probably not in the carrier environment.  I know the folks at Calix pretty well and Occam has done a pretty good job of dealing with the redudancy issue at much lower bandwidths.  Not sure that they scale the way that Calix would want to portray.



paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:52:38 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever


Almost all the edge devices including the C7 have datapath redundancy in the access network.  Most DSLAMs are capable of it, many carriers do not deploy that way.  Access was redundant due to the 5 9's voice requirement.

In the data space, these edge ethernet products are designed to replace SONET muxes and MSPPs.  All of which support redundancy.

So, yes Datapath redundancy is the norm in this environment.  Occam has dealt with it in their pizza box designs by using ethernet rings and having many more interfaces (towards the network) than is required for just the data to allow for ringing in many nodes.

The place that redundancy is lacking in smaller environments is on the subscriber drop side.  That comes into play only when you get a lot of information or users (to become an FCC reportable event) on an interface.

So, if I am a customer - do I really want to pay for a non-redundant 10G Interface?  I am probably going to be asking for box diversity with some form of path protection on top of interface protection.

Remember Calix started as a dual product - an NGDLC and a SONET mux.  They need to pull in some more of that SONET mux stuff I think.



^Eagle^ 12/5/2012 | 3:52:38 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever


I hear you re: ROUTER redundancy.  I participated one of the first major deals many years ago for routers with redundant fabrics, duplicate fail over line cards, route processors / switch fabrics and power supplies.

However, that is not an apples to apples situation.  Core Routers are a different beast than an edge aggregation platform whether it is a C7 type platform or an E7 platform.

Does anyone in the remote terminal business (DSLAM's, PON OLT, other remote terminal platforms), which is the sector that of course Calix plays in, as does ALU, Tellabs, and others smaller fish like Occam, etc.....  (as you know better than I as this is your sector... edge access and RT's)... Does anyone in THIS sector have such data path redundancy?  

Curious minds want to know.  I know that most of them have redundant power supplies, and redundant upstream links provisionable.... but fully redundant data paths?  

Of course with Calix framing this as an Ethernet switch.... that takes them closer to other domains than RT's.... I.E., carrier ethernet aggregation.  But again, do those other ethernet aggregation players have redundant data paths?

They might, I just don't know.  I have been out of that direct loop for some time.. last time I dealt with the edge and access portion of the network was several years ago.  Likewise ethernet switching and aggregation.  

Thanks,  sailboat

bollocks187 12/5/2012 | 3:52:38 PM
re: Calix Catches Ethernet Fever Is this not simply a case of CALIX not telling the whole truth - once again !
They are chasing the likes of Occam and or Pannaway as they are not an Ethernet company. Many of the pizza box products from Calix are in fact OEM and rebranded in any case.
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