Optical/IP Networks

Riverstone Scores a Coup

Riverstone Networks is headed for the metro core. Today it announced the RS 38000 Optical Metro Backbone Router, its largest capacity router in a long line of metropolitan area switch routers.

The new router seems to be shaking things up a bit for a few of its competitors. IntelliSpace, a metro area service provider, has been so impressed with the new box that it’s redeploying its Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) gear in different parts of its network to make room for the RS 38000.

“It’s a lower-cost solution and offers more robust features,” says Carlo Lalomia CTO and co-founder of Intellispace. “We can condense functionality, which lowers our capital and maintenance costs.”

Not only does the RS 38000 offer greater port densities than other switch/routers that Riverstone offers, but it also comes with a slew of new bells and whistles. In particular, a new ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) supports 10-gigabit Ethernet, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), packet over Sonet (POS), hardware-based multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), and resilient packet ring (RPR), according to Riverstone.

These new features have been a long time coming, according to its customer, Intellispace. Although Lalomia says that Intellispace doesn’t pick equipment favorites, the provider has been a steady Cabletron Systems Inc. switch customer since 1996 and has already deployed several Riverstone switches in its network. But earlier this year when the company was looking to deploy a 10-gigabit Ethernet solution, it had to go with an implementation from Riverstone competitor, Extreme.

“In general, I think Riverstone has better solutions,” he says. “But Extreme happened to win, because they had 10 Gbit/s and Riverstone didn’t.”

And when it came to T3 (45 Mbit/s) aggregation, again, Intellispace had to go with another vendor. This time it was Juniper.

While these solutions have worked well so far, Lalomia says that the RS 38000 can consolidate functions into a single piece of hardware. For example, the company can eliminate the Assured Access Multiplexer from Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA: Paris: CGEP:PA) for T1 (1.544 Mbit/s) aggregation, the Juniper routers used for T3 aggregation, and the Extreme switches that provide gigabit Ethernet aggregation. Lalomia says Intellispace will use RS 38000s to provide all three functions.

“Extreme doesn’t have strong WAN [wide area network] interfaces,” he says. “But Riverstone has a long history of solid WAN interfaces, and the Juniper gear is just much more expensive than Riverstone. It makes more sense for us to use the Riverstone router that can do this and more.”

Lalomia says he plans to redeploy the Extreme switches and Alcatel muxes in Intellispace’s tier 2 markets. And he plans to use the M40s he bought from Juniper as core routers, using the Riverstone routers for T3 aggregation.

In addition to consolidating several functions into one box, the RS 38000 combines a 170-Gbit/s non-blocking switch fabric, with hardware-based services such as MPLS and RPR. Lalomia plans to use MPLS to provide managed VPN (virtual private network) services for Intellispace customers. Currently, Intellispace uses the Extreme switches to provide Layer 2 VPNs, but Lalimio says that the implementation isn’t enough.

“Packets can be prioritized, but there is no guarantee inside the VLAN [virtual local area network] tunnel,” he says. “MPLS provides dynamic bandwidth reservation so that capacity is always guaranteed.”

The RS 38000 also supports the emerging RPR standard (802.17). This allows it to combine the 50 millisecond failover capability of Sonet and the plug-and-play attributes of Ethernet.

The RS 38000 is currently available for customer shipments. But not all the interfaces will be available right away. Ten-gigabit Ethernet won’t be ready until April, and OC192 (10 Gbit/s) interfaces aren’t expected until June 2001, according to the company.

-- Marguerite Reardon, senior editor, Light Reading, http://www.lightreading.com

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Marguerite Reardon 12/4/2012 | 9:01:02 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup How does Riverstone stack up against Extreme? Should Extreme be worried?
Hanover_Fist 12/4/2012 | 9:00:48 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup Any 'news anal-lyst' worth their weight in prose would quickly have realized that Riverstone 38000 announcement was mearly a re-release and re-badging of their original 32000 chassis.

But one would never expect new analysis from such a 'light' news source as LightReading, would one?

Maybe they should rename LightReading to the National Light Enquirer - but that would be too insulting to the latter!
lightreading 12/4/2012 | 9:00:47 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup They should both beware of Force10 Networks (soon).
Marguerite Reardon 12/4/2012 | 9:00:42 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup If you look at the specs, the 38000 is just what I said--the next big switch/router from Riverstone.

Let's compare:
The 38000 has 170 Gbit/s worth of capacity, 10 Gbit/s Ethernet interfaces, hardware-based MPLS support, and support for resilient packet rings (RPR).

The 32000 has 128 Gbit/s worth of capacity, no 10 GigE interfaces, no support for RPR, and software-based MPLS.

Marguerite Reardon, senior editor, Light Reading
Hanover_Fist 12/4/2012 | 9:00:36 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup If you and your organization would have taken a little more time reading the data sheets for the 38000 and 32000 products, you would have noticed right off the bat that they are practically 'cut and paste' duplicates of each other. The mere fact that they are almost exact replicas would have tipped off even the most astute first grader.

They teach students not to plagerize without footnoting in journalism schools, don't they? I guess they'll let just about anybody with a pulse write articles for LightReading, don't they.

It's obvious that many of the 'anal-lysts' never attended attended journalism school, or if they did, based on some of the "news analysis" stories that are filed here, many of you must have slept through most of those courses.

You're claim of differences must have come right from Riverstone's marketing department - you obviously couldn't have read anything on the proudct. Another lesson they teach at journalism school is to do a little background and fact checking. Obviously, another overlooked habit from LightReading.

This is yet another reason why this web site should be called "Lights-Out-Reading" -- all the research must be done in the dark.
light_on_dude 12/4/2012 | 9:00:32 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup Hanover (fist up your arse). Since the Lightreading staff is to professional, I would like to respond to your comments. You are just a complete jackass. The board says "lets have a discussion"...not be an arrogant a__hole. Please go back under the rock you crawled out from under. You add no value to these discussion.
jackk 12/4/2012 | 9:00:27 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup riverstone is by far the worst router/network equipment vendor i've ever had the unfortunate oppurtunity to use. i wouldn't use a riverstone as a paper weight.

the code is riddled with bugs and crashes
lack of very important features
sketchy looking equipment (seems flimsy)

we've had nothing but problems using them.
russ4br 12/4/2012 | 9:00:25 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup Unfortunately, this article is just a rewording of the Riverstone press-release of Jan 16th (please see riverstone website).

There-¦s just the opinion of Carlo Lalomia - the same person cited in the press release.

I see no independent analyst commentary, or other non-interested sources in the industry. Also, the article makes no effort to gauge how effectively this new platform can be deployed on the access/metro markets.

I have to agree with a previous poster that this is just "light analysis". The only "independent" thoughts that Ms. Reardon added was the "coup" that Riverstone had by this specific customer "shoveling" Extreme and Juniper ...

So much for "analysis" ... This is not on par with Lightreading editorial content and damages the credibility of this newsletter.
DForce 12/4/2012 | 9:00:22 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup I own an original Volkswagen Beattle (1962). It is light green and gets 40 miles to the gallon. Oh and it too supports the upcoming RPR 802.17 standard every bit as well as this box does.


No one can prove that my VW doesn't do RPR. So why not just add that in to my next product announcement. It's called marketing and bad marketing at that.

10GE at least has a draft out there...

For their sake I hope their 10GE, OC-192 and "hardware based" MPLS features work better that they do on my VW. At least in those cases one can hook up a test set and show me how the old bug is not compliant.
non-techie 12/4/2012 | 8:59:59 PM
re: Riverstone Scores a Coup SO they marketed too much. They should get in line behind Cisco and every other vendor.

Does anyone have performance experience on Riverstone versus Extreme. It seems to me they are very comparable but i can't tell for sure.
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