Huawei's Doing 100-Gig, Too
The company tells Light Reading that the sixth version of its NetEngine router will sport a linecard with a 100-Gbit/s Ethernet port -- and a separate card with ten 10-Gbit/s Ethernet ports -- in the second quarter of 2010.
The router itself, called the NE40E Universal Service Router, will start shipping in the third quarter of this year, says Carol Sun, Huawei's senior marketing manager for routers.
That gives Huawei a talking point against its rivals, as Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) have announced 100-Gbit/s Ethernet interfaces.
Juniper claims its 100-Gbit/s port will land in carrier trials late this year, while AlcaLu announced last week it's also targeting late 2009 trials for selected customers, with real shipments to begin mid-2010. (See AlcaLu Readies 100GigE Cards and Juniper Claims 100-Gig First.)
Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is in the mix, too. Last year's Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) test of a 100-Gbit/s Ethernet port for the CRS-1 core router counts as Cisco's announcement of an upcoming product, says Suraj Shetty, Cisco's vice president of service provider marketing. (See Comcast Thinks Big.)
Cisco isn't saying when 100-Gbit/s ports might actually arrive, though. It depends on the finalization of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802.3ba standard, and on carriers' readiness to deploy.
"Our philosophy has always been to have a customer ready to make an announcement," Shetty says.
Huawei's new NE40E got its debut at the recent CommunicAsia show. Among the big-deal selling points is that the new chassis's backplane can support ports of 400 Gbit/s (Sun stresses this means four ports of 100 Gbit/s each). (See Huawei's Big Router and Huawei Unveils Service Router.)
Cisco has announced that the ASR 9000 routers will eventually have the capacity for 400 Gbit/s per slot, but that's meant to include egress and ingress traffic simultaneously. In other words, the router will allow two 100-Gbit/s ports per slot without oversubscription. (See Chipping Away at Cisco's ASR 9000.)
When the 100-Gbit/s linecards come out, Huawei will also offer a switch fabric upgrade for the NE40E, to 6.4 Tbit/s. The router's 16-slot models sport a 2.56-Tbit/s fabric, while an eight-slot version uses a 1.44-Tbit/s fabric.
The current NE router line handles 40-Gbit/s linecards, and that should suit most carriers for the next few years, Sun says. "Tier 1 operators are asking us for future-proofed forms, and 400-Gbit/s slots are something they see they need in three to five years," she tells Light Reading.
On the features side, the NE40E will include a broadband remote access server (B-RAS) and can perform Deep Packet Inspection. An integrated session border controller (SBC) and gateway GPRS support node (GGSN) were included in the announcement but won't be added until later, Sun says.
On the chip side, Huawei, like AlcaLu, claims it's using its own semiconductors to get to 100 Gbit/s. "We do have our own chip design team for the packet forwarding engine, the traffic management, and the switch fabric," Sun says.
She's referring to HiSilicon, a Huawei subsidiary spun out in 2005, which also markets its chips to the outside world. A PricewaterhouseCoopers International survey ranked HiSilicon the top Chinese chip vendor in 2007 by revenues.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading