Tellabs Smartens Up Its Routers

Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) is announcing a major and long-awaited upgrade to its router portfolio with the SmartCore 9200, which is being launched on Tuesday.

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.

For more
Here's what's been up with Tellabs lately.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:52:35 PM
re: Tellabs Smartens Up Its Routers

I haven't gotten deeply into the services architecture in the 9200 yet.... so yes, it's true that other routers do services: AlcaLu calls its box the Service Router, and Juniper and Cisco can likewise claim the MXs and ASRs are more applications-centric than older routers were.

But Tellabs has a fresh start that came with knowledge of what all those platforms can do.  Michael Howard sounds impressed at first glance. It might be worth looking into the differences here.

ryan.james.123 12/5/2012 | 4:52:32 PM
re: Tellabs Smartens Up Its Routers

Info on the website says 1Tb/s Per slot and 11 Tb/s per chassis and 33 Tb/s per rack. 

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:52:32 PM
re: Tellabs Smartens Up Its Routers


Did you mean 1 Tb/Slot not 1 Tb/second?

100Gbps * 12 slots = 1.2 Tb/second.



Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:52:31 PM
re: Tellabs Smartens Up Its Routers

Sorry - I meant 1 Tbit per second per slot -- meaning, each slot could (someday)(after an upgrade) support 10 100Gbit/s ports.

I think I left out the "per slot" part of the phrasing, or didn't make it clear. I'll fix that. (The A-per-B-per-C construction is easy to say but there's got to be a clearer way...)

Charles_C 12/5/2012 | 4:52:28 PM
re: Tellabs Smartens Up Its Routers

Re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:52:28 PM
re: Tellabs Smartens Up Its Routers

Well, I am generally pretty harsh on Tellabs...but they are shucking and jiving on at least 1 bit of the article:

Code being derived from the 8800 and 8600 and merged with WiChorus.  Now I can believe the 8800.  The WiChorus guys absorbed the teams from Santa Clara and Petaluma.  But the 8800 and 8600 are like oil and water - no strike that - gasoline and a match (pun intended).  The chances of any real amount of code coming over from Finland is about a Finn's Snowball chance in Las Vegas in July.


rainbowarrior 12/5/2012 | 4:52:25 PM
re: Tellabs Smartens Up Its Routers

1 T per slot?


What are the feeds and speeds supported today?

ryan.james.123 12/5/2012 | 4:50:50 PM
re: Tellabs Smartens Up Its Routers

Here seems to be some details:  



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