Extreme Gets Small

Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) is joining Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) in offering a small carrier Ethernet box, aiming to help carriers stretch Ethernet into less dense areas.

Extreme's new BlackDiamond 12802R was announced today, coinciding with Light Reading's Ethernet Expo in London. (See Extreme Adds to BlackDiamond.)

The box targets low-cost deployments, an area Extreme doesn't think has been tapped well enough by gear vendors. Peter Lunk, director of service provider marketing for Extreme, notes the experience of one carrier building out Ethernet services to multi-tenant buildings around a metropolitan area. "They ran into some problems as they got into the lower density parts of the city," Lunk says.

The 12802R is a fixed-configuration box that's three rack units high and has two card slots, each intended for up to 20 Gigabit Ethernet ports or two 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports.

The idea is go to up against the Alcatel ESS-1 and Cisco ME 6524. Extreme says the 12802R is cheaper than the ESS-1, at $30,000 versus $60,000. And while it's priced on a par with Cisco's ME 6524, Extreme says it's got a more carrier-grade box, although the ME series was released for carrier Ethernet deployments specifically. (See Cisco Arms for IPTV Battle.)

Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent could not immediately be reached for comment.

Extreme is still a small fish in carrier Ethernet, claiming about 2 percent of that market, according to Heavy Reading analyst Stan Hubbard. Still, the company "has gained some good booking and revenue traction with its flagship BD12K, especially in overseas markets," Hubbard writes in an email from London.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Ethernet Expo 2007, a conference and exhibition that will explore major carrier Ethernet networking and service trends. To be staged in New York City, October 15-17, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.

Iipoed 12/5/2012 | 3:09:19 PM
re: Extreme Gets Small Hope they can get some traction and maybe a little of Cisco's business. Of course no margin business did little for riverstoned's survival.
materialgirl 12/5/2012 | 3:09:16 PM
re: Extreme Gets Small Why is a $30k box with up to 20 GE ports and 2 10GE ports a losing prop? You can get a decent car for that.
Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:09:16 PM
re: Extreme Gets Small You mean "no-margin" for carrier Ethernet in general, or just for this box?

Margins probably aren't high for the new little box, but then again, it's main role is probably as part of that "end-to-end" idea, to prime sales of the bigger BlackDiamonds.
metroman 12/5/2012 | 3:09:13 PM
re: Extreme Gets Small Materialgirl

No bad value really when you consider that the street price will be 30% of $30k.

I think that if the architecture is as described then they may have some issues: If the 10G interfaces are on a single blade then this will never sell as a "carrier grade" unit. In dual homed or ring topologies this will render the blade a point of failure - they need mixed media blades as an option, so why not build them?

I say take a look under the hood. These small boxes are often good products on paper, but they need to scale. What is the throughput through the switch? What is the real bandwidth of the data-path? i.e. does this box actually offer 10G dual homed or ring performance?

Take it a step further - for this to be carrier grade, what Carrier ethernet features does it support? Dual homed H-VPLS spoke VC? PBT? or just the Extreme EAPS?

Extreme also suffer from a lack of partners - Juniper building the 960 platform will take away the BD business from that partnership. Their partnership with Ericsson looks tough following the purchase of RBAK (not overlapping product but again hurts the BD revenue and therefore the "end-to-end" story that Craig talked about).

They will stuggle to sell this as they have no end-to-end solution credibility and limited options for credible partners. WWP have a better box at this level at a better price, MRV too. These guys have some rollouts to brag about and as they have a smaller portfolio they are a better partner for the niche.

Sure the market needs this kind of box, but will they ever buy it from Extreme?

Sign In