Huawei's Big Router

5:20 PM -- I haven't had a chance to talk to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. about the NetEngine V6 400G router announced at CommunicAsia this week, but they've certainly made it out to be a doozy. (See Huawei Unveils Service Router.)

The biggest news is up-front in the press release: Huawei is claiming 400-Gbit/s slots. (Given the industry's penchant for doubling capacities, that probably means capacity for 200 Gigabit Ethernet flows.) If it's truly available, then it's a step ahead of others. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is promising 400 Gbit/s per slot for the ASR 9000, but not until later. Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) says it can do 100-Gbit/s slots on the T1600. (See Chipping Away at Cisco's ASR 9000 and Juniper Claims 100-Gig First.)

Huawei's press release mentions capacity for just 960 Gigabit Ethernet flows, though, so there's some statistical multiplexing going on if you max out every slot. (Come to think of it, I don't see a mention of how many slots it has.)

The press release goes on to list a lot of the features that have been glommed into routers: a session border controller (SBC), a broadband remote access server (B-RAS), deep packet inspection. It can apparently serve as a gateway GPRS support node (GGSN) as well.

There's even video monitoring, something that's becoming a hot router item. (See Cisco Routers Start Watching Video.)

All told, it sounds like an interesting entry. Now, I didn't quite make it out to Singapore for CommunicAsia. (I did walk about halfway down the block at one point today. Do I get a travel voucher for that?) If anyone's gotten a gander at the NetEngine V6 400G in person and would like to share, please fill us in on the message boards below.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

volkot 12/5/2012 | 4:02:21 PM
re: Huawei's Big Router

Similar threads happen over and over, so maybe LR folks should take notes )

There seem to be three types of "slot bandwidth" floating around.

First (Type 1) is a random, exorbitant number invented by corporate marketeers. This number is not rooted in any reality.

Second (Type 2) is the maximum *fabric* capacity the shipping system supports. This bandwidth may or may not be utilized fully by the linecards. It can be reported as "full-duplex" or "half-duplex" - aka "Cisco math" - number.

Third (Type 3) is the actual revenue-generating througput per slot available commercially. It includes packet engines, fabric adapters and switch fabric. This number is virtually always full-duplex and is the only one that really matters.

Now let's check the platforms mentioned by Craig.

After a long discussion here on the "petabyte" ASR9000, it finally turned out that Cisco's 400G/slot is (Type 1) - that is, complete BS.

(Type 2) bandwidth per slot on Cisco ASR9000 is now officially reported as 80Gb/slot (full-duplex RSP switch fabric speed).

(Type 3) linecard bandwidth for ASR9000 is merely 40G/slot (full-duplex) and that's what Cisco has on the price list (not sure if shipping yet).

As you can see, we are not speaking of just "doublemath" - it's 5-10x off.

On the other example - Juniper T - does not seem to report (Type 1) and reports only (Type 2) bandwidth - full-duplex 100G/slot.

Reastically, Juniper T1600 ships only full-duplex 80G/slot linecards and they cannot claim 100G/slot until the first production 100GE or 10x10GE cards are shipped.

Getting back to Huawei, their (Type 2) bandwidth for the current generation NE-series ranges from 40 to 80G/slot (full-duplex) - depending on the source.

In a recent Huawei bake-off, we were offered only full-duplex 20G/slot linecards for testing and that's their current (Type 3) number for NE5000 and NE40e/NE80e. I would give them a consolation prize for efforts - Huawei wanted to claim 40G/slot so badly, that they even showed an OC768 "mock-up" - non functional though ))

And now let me make a wild guess where the NE40e USR 400G/slot came from.

It's a known fact that Huawei builds their routers entirely from off-the-shelf components, although they like to deny it.

Recent press releases from Dune Networks on the new family of fabric chips may give a clue that Huawei has chosen Dune fabric (again); the numbers match pretty well - Dune FE600 chips can give up to 2x100G/slot in a proper setup.

Needless to say, this does not mean Huawei has technology to deliver 1x100GE (or even 1xOC768 per slot for that matter), much less a 200G/slot worth of revenue bandwidth.

Not understanding this important difference leads to comparing real oranges to imaginary apples.


Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:02:18 PM
re: Huawei's Big Router

Thanks for the refresher, Volkot.  We're all aware of everything you've written here; the post was meant to be about marketing claims.

I did leave out a "Juniper says" in the part about Juniper, which I've added. And I've reworded the opening to make it more clear that I don't yet know what Huawei can deliver now as opposed to later -- like the ASR 9000.

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