Optical/IP Networks

Multiservice Switches

The world of networking is not unlike the world of fashion. People clamor for the very latest thing – and then before you know it there is an old bell-bottom protocol that is suddenly back in vogue. Take Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) and the revival it's enjoying with the development of so-called multiservice switches. "But ATM is so, like, last season," you cry. Well, if hairy-chested clubbers can once again wear medallions around their necks, then maybe it's time to pull ATM out of the closet. Multiservice switches are a route to combining new technology with old, and can allow both ATM and Internet Protocol (IP) networks to coexist, interwork, and basically live happily together. This report looks at the principles behind multiservice switches – what they are, why they are important, and what the market is like for them in the big wide world. Also covered is analysis of the vendors and their products, together with details of desirable features for these switches, spiced up by the occasional controversial comments of a variety of service providers. This report is based upon a very detailed analysis provided by Light Reading's paid research service, Optical Oracle. In Retro Chic – Multiservice Switches you can find a detailed competitive analysis of all of the multiservice switches available today, as well as feedback on the multiservice market from three leading service providers. Here's a hyperlinked summary of what follows:
  • ATM Renaissance
    Reasons for the renewed interest in ATM; the dilemma of service providers.
  • Routers Rivalry
    The positioning of multiservice switches and a comparison with routers.
  • Worldwide Market
    Service provider capex plans and reasons for the halt in market growth; a comparison between the edge and core markets.
  • Vendors
    A look at marketshare by vendor; an introduction to the startup activity in this field and the attitudes of service providers towards them.
  • Core/Edge Products
    Details of the products available, their features, and their application to core and/or edge applications.
  • Switch Architectures
    Details of the three types of switch architecture, with details of which vendor is backing which architecture; a summary of the complications of MPLS implementation.
Introduction by Craig Williamson, Associate Editor, Light Reading

Report by Stephen Saunders, Founding Editor, Light Reading, based upon the Optical Oracle report: Retro Chic - Multiservice Switches.

Editor's Note: Light Reading is not affiliated with Oracle Corporation.
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