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Optical/IP

Riverstone Enters Edge Fray

Riverstone Networks Inc. (OTC: RSTN.PK) today launched the company's 15000 series of products, including the 15008 router, which joins a parade of new products targeting the multiservice edge.

The idea is that these routers will connect Layer 2 traffic -- Ethernet, Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM), Frame Relay -- and brush it up for transport across a unified IP/MPLS core. But for now, Riverstone's focused on Ethernet, and has eschewed other interfaces.

Between newly introduced systems and acquired startups, competitors in this area include Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN), Hammerhead Systems Inc., Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR), Laurel Networks Inc., Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), and Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA). Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) participates as well, but with older systems: the 7600, 10000, and 12000 router lines.

Approaches differ, with Juniper and Nortel taking a Layer 3 focus, for instance, while Ciena and Hammerhead concentrate more on Layer 2. Riverstone adds a new twist to the Layer 2 side, as the 15008 focuses on an Ethernet future rather than an ATM/Frame Relay past.

"It's really focused on Ethernet services, which are going to be the area of highest growth," says Sathya Narayanaswamy, Riverstone director of marketing.

Riverstone is painting the 15008 as a high-end platform for the multiservice edge. "It is really for aggregating traffic into the core of the network. People are going towards 10-Gbit/s trunking into the core, which is really the first application for this," Narayanaswamy says.

But the exclusive focus on routing and Ethernet may have some wondering where to find the "multi" in multiservice edge. The product lacks Frame Relay and ATM interfaces -- it's only got Ethernet interfaces.

Specifically, the 15008 will come with only Gigabit Ethernet and 10-Gbit/s Ethernet interfaces at first. Most competitors offer ATM interfaces as an option, because their boxes target older networks.

It's no surprise to see Riverstone taking an Ethernet approach to the multiservice edge, as the company has pegged its comeback to Layer 2 Ethernet. Scandal socked Riverstone last year, as the company fell under a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation and overhauled its executive slate (see SEC Calls on Riverstone, Riverstone Founders Resign, and Riverstone Begins New Chapter). CEO Oscar Rodriguez is trying to right the ship this year, focusing on Ethernet, MPLS, and VPLS on the product side. Riverstone also plans to have a presence at Supercomm later this month.

Still, Riverstone's strategy contradicts the thinking of most other vendors. Companies such as Nortel have produced new systems for the edge, insisting that the multiservice job calls for a newly built platform combining the ATM and IP worlds (see Nortel's Neptune Surfaces, Neptune Arrives).

The 15008 will eventually have ATM and Frame Relay interfaces, but Riverstone officials aren't giving a timeline.

The 15008 sports a new, modular operating system but uses the same routing stack as the RS, and it borrows some of the RS's Ethernet features, such as loop detection. Riverstone does plan to add Layer 3 services to the 15008, including virtual private network (VPN) support as defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) RFC 2547.

The 15008 is an eight-slot chassis fitting one third of a seven-foot rack. Its switch fabric has a total capacity of 192 Gbit/s.

The 15008 is in trials including one with T-Systems Inc. and German research network Deutsches Forschungsnetz. General availability is slated for the fall.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading


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Say_Yes_2_MPLS 12/5/2012 | 1:40:11 AM
re: Riverstone Enters Edge Fray So the only services that the 15000 will support from day one are Ethernet aggregation and Ethernet VPWS/VPLSG«™ although at some unknown point in the future it will support some ATM/FR - so where does multi-service come into it? RS are marketing this box at the edge because they know they can't make it in the core - It has nothing to do with 'multi-service', thatG«÷s just the latest buzzword the RS marketing team have jumped on.

To be fair, on RS's website they call the 15000 an Ethernet Edge Router, but they do also describe it as a multi-service edge router. They also claim that the 15000 is "the first Ethernet edge router to employ a distributed and modular operating system architecture." Clearly this is a lie as several vendors offer edge routers with distributed/modular architectures that support Ethernet.

Can anyone think of a single reason why a carrier would choose RS over other established players at the edge?

I don't believe many carriers are looking for a 'God Box' that can do everything at the edge, but they are looking for convergence. Why would a carrier choose this box when there are more mature boxes out there that already support multiple interfaces/services today such as the Juniper M320, Laurel ST200, Tellabs 8800? These boxes support today's services/interfaces (FR/ATM/BRAS/RFC2547/VPLS/etc.) while offering a migration strategy towards Ethernet access.

Considering Riverstone's size and uncertain financials, its difficult to see how they can compete with the big players at the edge, especially when the box will only support Ethernet from day one. I doubt the 15000 will delay the inevitable, it might even speed things upG«™.
indianajones 12/5/2012 | 1:40:05 AM
re: Riverstone Enters Edge Fray I agree.

The only option for them is to go to their current customer base and plead with them to do a "swap". Unfortunately, a lot of the carriers I know are pretty leery of RS and would be hesitant to deploy a new platform especially when they have more mature platforms to choose from.
Iipoed 12/5/2012 | 1:40:01 AM
re: Riverstone Enters Edge Fray They will be able to sell it like they do their other boxes (and a Cabletron did for years), for 1/3 the price of the competition ( they may even give it away just to establish a customer base) as well as putting a tech on site forever.
Hey hope they can keep making payroll as the industry does not need anymore unemployed people.
edgeman 12/5/2012 | 1:39:58 AM
re: Riverstone Enters Edge Fray I agree that Riverstone has been the equivalant of the gang that couldn't shoot straight over the past 2 years. Essentially, they wasted away their technical competitive advantages through poor leadership. HOWEVER, I do think that the company is slowly beginning to get it's house back in order. Late? Most definitely. Too late, definitely not. Riverstone, for better or worse, seems to have a compelling enough MPLS/VPLS Metro Ethernet market strategy. Similarly, they are one of the few vendors in the space to have previous (dated) enterprise deployment success stories in the metro space. Is it enough to break thru the Cisco/Nortel/Juniper/Tellabs stronghold?
I guess time will tell............
Bush sucks 12/5/2012 | 1:39:49 AM
re: Riverstone Enters Edge Fray Yes, I agree that RS had a very good product in YAGO and frittered it away. Their BGP was second to none and they won a lot of deals against Juniper's M20 series. Of course, Juniper lost any deal with GigE ports as the M20 GigE was just too expensive.
eieio 12/5/2012 | 1:39:42 AM
re: Riverstone Enters Edge Fray I agree that Riverstone has been the equivalant of the gang that couldn't shoot straight over the past 2 years. Essentially, they wasted away their technical competitive advantages through poor leadership. HOWEVER, I do think that the company is slowly beginning to get it's house back in order. Late? Most definitely. Too late, definitely not. Riverstone, for better or worse, seems to have a compelling enough MPLS/VPLS Metro Ethernet market strategy. Similarly, they are one of the few vendors in the space to have previous (dated) enterprise deployment success stories in the metro space. Is it enough to break thru the Cisco/Nortel/Juniper/Tellabs stronghold?
I guess time will tell............

-----------------------------------------------

Ginz ... is that you?
tsat 12/5/2012 | 1:39:09 AM
re: Riverstone Enters Edge Fray
Does this box use merchant silicon? From Dune,
Sandburst, Marvell, ect?

-tsat
edgeman 12/5/2012 | 1:39:06 AM
re: Riverstone Enters Edge Fray eieio- sorry for coming across as the defender of the faith....definitely not "The Ginz".
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