Riverstone Aims for Access
The new 15100 and 15200 series are smaller versions of the flagship 15008 router (see Riverstone Adds Ethernet Routers). Yes, vendors are always releasing smaller versions of routers, but Riverstone says these new boxes are meant to fill an industrywide gap in carrier-class Ethernet.
Carriers that put Ethernet in their networks have been using enterprise-class routers in the access network, says Inbar Lasser-Raab, Riverstone vice president of marketing. Hence, the company says its 15100 and 15200 lines bring carrier-class Ethernet down to a box suitable for access networks or even customer premises. "With these platforms we allow carriers to move OAM [operations, administration, and management] capabilities into the access," Lasser-Raab says.
Some routers follow a similar philosophy -- the 3750 from (Nasdaq: CSCO) can put Ethernet and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) at the customer premises, for example. But the 3750 was derived from Cisco's enterprise routers. Riverstone claims it stands out by having the first service-provider-oriented boxes targeting this space.
The new boxes use the same software as the 15008 and provide the same features. The difference is the size -- the new versions are two rack units high, with a maximum of 20 ports of Gigabit Ethernet. The 15100 line uses four ports of Gigabit Ethernet as uplink, while the 15200 boxes provide two ports of 10-Gbit/s uplink.
Riverstone has announced two customers for the new routers: Updata Infrastructure UK Ltd. and the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA). Carrier Ethernet is gaining favor quickly in some circles, aided by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF)'s formalization of requirements to be "carrier-class" (see MEF Rubber Stamps Ethernet Gear and MEF: Certification Wasn't Easy). That the idea is percolating further to the edges of the network is no surprise. "Carrier Ethernet is beginning to play in every part of the metro and access network infrastructure," writes Heavy Reading analyst Stan Hubbard in a recent report, "Carrier Ethernet Equipment Market Outlook."
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading