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Optical/IP

Huawei Goes Hard Core

Resurrecting the term "terabit router," Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is diving into the core-routing market.

But while Huawei is considered an able competitor in routers, analysts have their doubts that its core router will make much of a splash. Core routers are just too difficult a market, says analyst Samuel Wilson of JMP Securities.

"How much business did Procket do? And they had Tony Li," Wilson says (see Procket Reaches 'End of Life').

Yet another question about Huawei's move is what it will mean for Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7), one of its partners. Huawei resells Avici's SSR core routers under the name NE5000.

Separately, Huawei is developing the Quidway NE5000E Terabit Core Router, which it has begun marketing in China, according to Avici officials. The system was announced last fall.

Most Huawei officials were unavailable for comment due to this week's New Year's holiday, but a spokesman -- reached on holiday in rural China -- confirmed that the NE5000E is a home-grown Huawei project.

The NE5000E has slots for 64 10-Gbit/s interfaces, with 40-Gbit/s interfaces to be offered "in the near future," giving each chassis a potential throughput of 2.56 Tbit/s.

Beyond that, up to 64 chassis can be connected together for a total throughput exceeding 160 Tbit/s with 40-Gbit/s interfaces, or 40 Tbit/s using today's 10-Gbit/s interfaces.

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) announced their own multichassis core routers last year, and of course Avici has its own multichassis product (see Cisco Unveils the HFR and Juniper Unveils the TX). Here's a rundown of the competiton:

Table 1: Multichassis Router Derby
Company System Maximum Capacity
Cisco CRS-1 46 Tbit/s* in a 72-chassis configuration
Huawei NE5000E 41 Tbit/s in a 64-chassis configuration (OC192 interfaces only)
Juniper TX 1.28 Tbit/s by linking four T640s together
Avici TSR 5.6 Tbit/s achieved by adding switch cards in up to 14 chassis; larger configurations may be possible
Chiaro Enstara 3.125 Tbit/s multichassis configuration consisting of 315 slots of 10 Gbit/s
* That's 92 Tbit/s, adjusted to fit the counting schemes of the other vendors
Source: Company releases




History is not on Huawei's side here, as no terabit router startup besides Avici has picked up any success. The roster of the fallen includes such bubble-era names as Axiowave, Ironbridge, Pluris, and, most recently, Procket. From the startup side, Chiaro Networks Inc. is still giving it a shot, having recently inked a reseller deal with ECI Telecom Ltd. (Nasdaq/NM: ECIL) (see Chiaro Lands ECI Investment).

So does the NE5000E conflict with the Huawei-Avici alliance? Not necessarily, because analysts think Huawei will face the same problems that sank all those startups. Carriers take years to get comfortable with buying from a vendor -- and the core router, being a crucial decision, takes even longer than most sales.

"It'll be a long time before they have a credible router," says one analyst who asked to remain anonymous.

Likewise, Avici isn't concerned about the NE5000E. "It's interesting in China. It's not going to be that interesting outside China," says William Leighton, Avici's CEO. Still, it's yet to be seen what impact the NE5000E might have on Avici's relationship with Huawei, as Avici will be banking on its resellers to help increase its customer base.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading




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MartinCYK 12/5/2012 | 3:26:05 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core HW's (Huawei) initial purpose to build their core router products is to beat up tier 1 local core router manufacturer - Harbour Network's 640Gb/s NetHammer series. (Harbour Network founded by few of Huawei's employee) That's why Huawei is trying to build a much high speed core router in order to gain back the no.1 position in China first, then for oversea market. Of course, Huawei's current focus is more in oversea customers instead because their cost (labour, manufacturing) is really higher than other domestic vendors.
Kylon 12/5/2012 | 3:26:19 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core >>discounts. Cisco and Juniper will be left at a serious disadvantage -- unless they can show that their products are by and far more superior technically.<<

Doesn't Huawei automatically pilfer any and all advances their competitors, or should I say victims, invent?

reoptic 12/5/2012 | 3:26:50 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core With 10B from China govt. and IPO coming Huawei is getting flush. When China currency allowed to rise Huawei will pick up a bunch of US companies and technologies on the cheap...core, edge, whatever. Have to settle balance of trade somehow...US buys their products and they buy US companies.
5urf5hop 12/5/2012 | 3:26:55 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core Additionally, Huawei has the low-cost benefit of manufacturing in deep-woods China. For example, what used to cost $30,000 to manufacture in Singapore, can now be done for $300 in China. :-0

Just ask the 1,000s of women/girls who "slave away" in their manufacturing plants and sleep in the "Huawei Dormatories" at night.

There's also virtually no workers-comp either. If a worker gets injured on the job, that's just too bad.. Also, almost no environmental regulations laid down by the Chinese government.

Incumbents--you better get your costs down, soon...
flyingsausage 12/5/2012 | 3:26:56 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core don't underestimate Huawei.
In many fields, they're having technology edge cutting products, as good or even better than "traditional" vendors and well established market leaders.
they are not "a new company in town", but the telecom vendor leader in China, and have big experience in building other telecom devices and handling big deployments.
they still suffer from a lack of local presence (supply chain, support, sales forces, marketing, ...) worldwide, but are building it very fast (just look on monster, they're hiring everywhere). As soon as their local presence will be strong enough somewhere, they'll be much more competitive that any incubent vendor.
huysegems 12/5/2012 | 3:26:57 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core Please remind that it is no so easy to build (as "a new company in town") an core router.
I have seen many who tried it (not only startups !) but up to now, only one
that actually did it.
plasma 12/5/2012 | 3:26:59 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core I ignore them. Call me old school or paranoid, but I'm not sure I want devices built from a company (that's an extension of the PLA) in my network. Judging by their rep. who to say you want have more holes/backdoors than a block of swiss cheese?
sjenngs 12/5/2012 | 3:27:00 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core Huawei started with relatively poor products but they have proven their products in many applications now. They are real competitor for all telecom equipment vendors now, don't ignore them.
light-headed 12/5/2012 | 3:27:00 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core This is a good point. Chinese customers are very forgiving if Huawei has a problem due to low expectations, relationships, Huawei position with govt, etc. Customers outside of China will NOT be so forgiving if they have problems/issues and do not resolve them in a timely manner or with good results. This is much more of an issue with complicated products like core routers than it is with cheap lan switches and access gear.

------------------------------------------------
The "predators" are here and its looks like they are not going to go away. Cisco and Juniper should be worried, but they should also be confident in their ability to retain and keep customers relatively happy.
Whilst Huawei are buying the market at a rapid rate, lets all wait and see how it's delivered and supported. Sure they will get some deals, but will the Chinese really be able to work and deliver all they promise?
I know every company has it's frustrations, but lets not forget this is a new market and they do have to go an extra mile - but can they sustain it?
This is their honeymoon period where they are courting everything and saying all the right things - but im not so sure it will always be roses once they start rolling out and you are tied to them, then i think we will really start to see the real Huawei.
Tiddly 12/5/2012 | 3:27:02 AM
re: Huawei Goes Hard Core The "predators" are here and its looks like they are not going to go away. Cisco and Juniper should be worried, but they should also be confident in their ability to retain and keep customers relatively happy.
Whilst Huawei are buying the market at a rapid rate, lets all wait and see how it's delivered and supported. Sure they will get some deals, but will the Chinese really be able to work and deliver all they promise?
I know every company has it's frustrations, but lets not forget this is a new market and they do have to go an extra mile - but can they sustain it?
This is their honeymoon period where they are courting everything and saying all the right things - but im not so sure it will always be roses once they start rolling out and you are tied to them, then i think we will really start to see the real Huawei.
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