CenturyLink's choice of Alcatel-Lucent's 7950 XRS router for its core network upgrade was based largely on its capacity and power consumption, says James Feger, vice president, CenturyLink network strategy and development. The third-largest US carrier has been deploying the AlcaLu gear since earlier this year and has now almost completed the network upgrade that will enable it to keep up with annual bandwidth increases in the terabit range, he notes. (See CenturyLink Upgrades IP Core With Alcatel and CenturyLink, Chinese Carriers Choose AlcaLu Core Routers.)
CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) was particularly looking for a router able to handle the bandwidth-on-demand it is delivering to support cloud services, since that is a significant area of growth, Feger says. The new routers will go into the largest cities along the CenturyLink backbone network, serving its highest volumes of traffic.
"When you are talking about terabits of growth, you need a platform that is coming out of the gate with an enormous amount of scale and a long roadmap in front of it to scale further," he says. "As more traffic is coming through, you also need to be aware of heat generation and power consumption, and from an environmental standpoint, this router does quite well for power."
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) bills the 7950 XRS as requiring one watt per gigabit of forwarding capacity.
CenturyLink also considered its existing relationship with Alcatel-Lucent as an edge router vendor, and is comfortable with the level of support, as well as the code maturity for this router. Purchases of this type require specific timing, Feger notes -- the products for a major router upgrade can't be either too early or too far along in their product lifecycle to hit the deployment sweet spot.
Routers serving CenturyLink's smaller service areas are not yet due for replacement, he notes, and will remain in service. Feger declines to name the vendors involved there, other than to say his company supports multi-vendor deployments and has been a regular customer of "The Big Three" in routing, an indication that Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) are possible suppliers of those routers.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading