For starters, there's a capacity upgrade. The 9200 will eventually support 1Tbit/s with a future switch-fabric upgrade, says Tim Doiron, a Tellabs director of product management. For now, the routers are starting at 100Gbit/s per slot. (That's without double-counting; each slot can support one 100Gbit/s port.)
An applications focus is what makes the 9200 special, though. Certain blades -- Tellabs is calling them SmartCards -- will allocate variable amounts of processing power to different applications, giving service providers a flexible scalability. Different varieties of SmartCards will handle functions such as mobile backhaul, security or the tracking of packet flows.
The 9200's name matches the SmartCore packet-core system acquired with WiChorus, but its software is also derived from Tellabs's 8600 and 8800 routers. The largest of the family, the 9280, has 14 slots, up to 12 of which can be used for line cards. It takes up one-third of a rack.
Tellabs is announcing one customer: Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS), an old fan of the 8800.
Why this matters
Tellabs's routers haven't gotten a major upgrade since being acquired with Vivace in 2003. Lately, that's led to concerns about market share, especially at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), where Tellabs has lost mobile-backhaul sockets to Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU).
"They had to do something like this," says Michael Howard, an analyst with Infonetics Research Inc.
What Howard really likes is the applications aspect. Competing routers can handle similar kinds of services, but they were really built to be routers and add other intelligence through blades that, often, were developed much later. Tellabs was smart to build something truly new, infusing applications awareness into the design's roots, he says.
Here's what's been up with Tellabs lately.
- Juniper, Cisco Add Router Ammo
- Tellabs Cutting 10% of Staff
- Tellabs Could Seek Optical Redemption
- Tellabs Tanks in Q4
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading