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.

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