Huawei Bites at the IP Core

LONDON -- Sofnet -- Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. today made its latest bid to challenge Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) in the IP core router market by unveiling a multi-chassis cluster system the vendor claims can achieve up to 10-Tbit/s switching capacity at full throttle. (See Huawei Unveils Core Router.)

News that the system was being launched didn't come as a big surprise -- Light Reading unveiled the bones of the news yesterday -- but today Huawei was able to provide more detail, and announce China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CHA) as a customer. (See Huawei Joins Router Newsfest.)

The hardware platform at the center of Huawei's pitch isn't new -- the Quidway NetEngine 5000E core IP router was first launched in 2004 with 1.28-Tbit/s switching capacity, and by 2006 the vendor had engineered a dual chassis platform that doubled that capacity to 2.56 Tbit/s.

Now it has put together a system that enables up to eight NE5000E routers to be deployed at the edge of the network, each of which hook up to two centralized controller routers via optical connections. Those two centralized router platform are also connected to each other, creating a distributed but clustered architecture that, theoretically, provides up to 10 Tbit/s of throughput.

Huawei claims this formation cuts out the need for an aggregation layer between the access and the core, cutting down on the number of boxes that need to be deployed as data traffic demands put pressure on IP capacity, and also cutting down on the number of interconnections that need to be managed.

According to the Chinese vendor, the equivalent "traditional multi-router network" required to deliver 10 Tbit/s of capacity would involve 16 boxes (four core, four aggregation, and eight access routers) and 30 links that would require 60 interfaces. By contrast, the Huawei cluster architecture has 10 boxes (two core and eight at the access layer), 17 links, and 34 interfaces.

Clustering routers for greater capacity and redundancy is not new -– both Cisco and Juniper enable their routers to be grouped together this way. Huawei, though, claims it is the first vendor to achieve a theoretical capacity level of 10 Tbit/s in a managed router cluster.

Another trend Huawei has followed in developing its own ASICs for the new implementation: Cisco, Juniper, and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) have all turned to their in-house teams for the chips at the heart of their recent switch/router releases. (See AlcaLu Beefs Up Its Routers, Cisco Takes Hold of the Edge, and Chipmakers Unfazed by Vendor Chip Shops.)

Huawei says it went with an in-house development to enable minimum power consumption -- just one of the attributes, along with "efficient cooling," and a small and relatively light chassis, the vendor is pushing as part of its more environmentally friendly credentials.

Now comes the hard work, though, as Huawei attempts to expand its installed base of core IP router customers well beyond its domestic market.

China Telecom has already deployed the new system (starting with a two-chassis cluster metro core in some major cities) to support the rapidly increasing data volumes generated by its broadband customers. The carrier says it had nearly 36 million DSL customers at the end of 2007, having added more than 7.3 million broadband lines last year, and has been upgrading those lines from 1 Mbit/s to 2 Mbit/s and 8 Mbit/s to meet demand, something it has been able to do with more core IP capacity.

With access bandwidth and broadband customer numbers growing fast, the operator expects to be deploying a full 10-Tbit/s-capable cluster within three years.

But China Telecom is Huawei's biggest customer, so it comes as no great surprise to hear that the carrier is using the NE5000E, even if it is already using Cisco's CRS-1 core router. (See China Telecom Selects Cisco.)

It's also no surprise that Huawei's roll call of other NE5000E router customers (though not yet for the cluster version) include China's other main fixed-line carrier, China Netcom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE: CN; Hong Kong: 0906), and both the country's two main mobile operators, China Mobile Communications Corp. and China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU).

Outside its domestic market, only Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel) (OTC: SGTJY) and Saudi operator Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily) are NE5000E users.

That leaves Huawei plenty of work to do to catch up its core router rivals in terms of market penetration, but Huawei is strong in the so-called emerging markets, and will be confident of picking up additional customers in Asia/Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America -- markets that are driving its relentless growth. (See Huawei Sets Bumper Sales Target and Heavy Reading Homes In on Huawei.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

tsat 12/5/2012 | 3:42:01 PM
re: Huawei Bites at the IP Core

douaibei 12/5/2012 | 3:41:58 PM
re: Huawei Bites at the IP Core I do believe this is a market and technology forum, should we just focus a bit? I dont think any similar fun will change anything.

core11 12/5/2012 | 3:41:54 PM
re: Huawei Bites at the IP Core I have to admit that this is a great achievement for Huawei. A vendor that is able to build the most complex network element has the technology to build them all. It seems that the HW platform is presently superior to CRS-1 and T-Series. Does anyone have any knowledge about the NE5K SW ?

Soupafly 12/5/2012 | 3:41:51 PM
re: Huawei Bites at the IP Core Its built on huawei's VRP, I think.

Been around awhile and very stable imho. (Usual patches & what not but nothing out of the ordinary.)

What the LR article didn't mention is that Huawei are promising to scale the platform to 160Tb! Now that is a different league and kills anything that Cisco or Juniper are promising... so things get interesting.

And to the photoshop crank with too much red-bull and free time on the nightshift, I would say this. If you can in anyway state or prove that Huawei has links to the military then lets hear it. Otherwise shut-up and go post on Facebook. This is a networking site for pro's, not a rumour mill for your mindless attempts at fun or fud.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:41:50 PM
re: Huawei Bites at the IP Core
Link to the PLA is simple:

The Chairman of Huawei is a General (or ex-General depending on your view) of the PLA.

Soupafly 12/5/2012 | 3:41:48 PM
re: Huawei Bites at the IP Core Link? Simple??

Brooke maybe you need to upgrade to 8 or lay off the green.

From what I understand the CEO was in the PLA, but that was almost 30 years ago. If you have any EVIDENCE to the contrary then please share.

Otherwise quit the fud or rumour mill rubbish.

Either you know or you don't and your just repeating the same old tosh doing the rounds. I call it tosh because if I ever hear it and ask someone what they are basing it on they fail to give me an answer.

I would imagine that is what your going to do. Or maybe your going to argue that its true because your mate down the bus stop told you it.

This is a forum for discussion, so I await your reply.
paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 3:41:47 PM
re: Huawei Bites at the IP Core
Beyond the donation of $6B per annum that Huawei got from the PLA during the startup phase?


litereading 12/5/2012 | 3:41:46 PM
re: Huawei Bites at the IP Core Bio presented at "Plenary Session 6: High-Tech Entrepreneurship in China for IAMOT2007" titled "About Huawei Corp. CEO - Ren Zhengfei" is the following "Ren Zhengfei is a former officer of the People's Liberation Army. He joined the Communist Party of China in 1958, and
is member of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of China."

Success in China has been traditionally linked to one's rank in the Communist Party. As for more evidence, lets face it Souperfly, China has not be (is not today) an open society to information. Example - Tibet. How is this germaine to the tech discussion forum? Because it is valid to question whether this company has to play be the same free market rules that other companies must play by. There is no question H. is a formidable competitor.
Soupafly 12/5/2012 | 3:41:30 PM
re: Huawei Bites at the IP Core @litereading; I see your point about China generally. Lets not get into a discussion about Tibet, because that brings up what the US & Uk are doing with Israel & Palestine. The world media's mock shock at Tibet is a farcical smoke-screen to hide what is happening in Palestine. (Read widely & you will see what I mean.
@Brookeseven. Sources? You state this $6b like its a fact, from where? As for your argument that he was a general and member of the PLA yes, but a long time ago. Pretty much anyone of influence in china is a member of the communist party. I see nothing intrinsically wrong with that. That is the system in china. You can argue about its "legitimacy" from a western perspective but I don't. The democratic model is not a "1 size" fits all panacea. Iraq, Afganistan, Mozambique, etc all prove that.

That's life. There is nothing wrong with diversity in the political system & model people choose.

Am sure Cisco's Management team have connections in the sentate & house of reps, in addition to CIA, NSA, etc. Does that make them a "threat"? You bet! Do we black list & argue about them? No! Why? Because ultimately, its about trust.

If you dont trust the Huawei then say that & state why. My caution is that people on here post from the perspective that they are from china & therefore by definition cannot be trusted. That is western propaganda and plainly nonsense!

Cisco, Juniper and all the vendors that I know source significant quantities of components from chinese manufacturers. So your buying from China whether you acknowledge it or not.

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