Seranoa Surfaces

Seranoa Networks Inc. is putting its cards on the table at last. On Monday, the Boxborough, Mass., startup plans to introduce its IP edge aggregation device for the ISP market.

Dubbed the WANport Edge Concentrator, the new box fits inside an IP service provider's point of presence (POP), eliminating the need to add extra line cards to edge routers.

It's a compelling strategy with a long-term question mark attached.

The immediate benefits are straightforward. The WANport sits in front of an edge router, grouping together circuits that would otherwise consume lots of expensive router ports. The result is savings in router chassis and WAN cards, a greater volume of traffic handled per router, and even better network redundancy and performance, Seranoa says.

Seranoa execs claim the WANport can save ISPs up to 75 percent on their present POP equipment costs. That's the price differential, they say, between a port on the WANport device and a port on a channelized T3 line card from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).

What's more, buying a WANport means not having to buy extra line cards and chassis, Seranoa says, particularly ones that really aren't needed. "Routers are capable of forwarding more traffic than they're being offered," says Graham Pattison, Seranoa's new CEO (see Seranoa Hires CEO, Touts Betas).

How much more? Seranoa and other execs say the device gives edge routers the ability to handle five times more subscriber traffic than they do via their regular line cards. This is because the WANport aggregates multiple incoming subscriber lines via Gigabit Ethernet using the IEEE 802.1q VLAN protocol, and not via low-speed TDM channels, as many edge routers do.

The WANport also contains a network processor from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), which Seranoa claims offloads the "heavy lifting" involved in bringing together multiple lower-speed subscriber links via the multilink point-to-point protocol. Since processing PPP burdens the performance of edge routers, adding the WANport potentially improves router performance.

The WANport comes with enough capacity to handle 12 channelized T3 ports. It features dual outgoing Gigabit Ethernet ports, one of which can be configured as a failover port to a second edge router in the carrier's network. The initial WANport model costs $48,000.

Seranoa says it's got the WANport in trials with seven North American carriers.

So what's not to like? A potential cloud looming on Seranoa's horizon might be the displeasure of edge router vendors, particularly Cisco, which may perceive Seranoa as bashing its line cards or its approach to populating its chassis. Unless router vendors see a positive spin on Seranoa's solution, the spunky startup could face some unwanted pricing or product skirmishes with powerful players.

Still, that may not happen. After all, in today's market, vendors seem open to anything that stimulates carrier spending, including partnerships that hitherto seemed unlikely (see Lucent & Cisco: Together at Last).

Seranoa also may find its market limited eventually, particularly since its focus is fairly narrow and not extended as yet to the international market. But again, that focus may prove to be a strength, giving Seranoa a secure platform from which to reach farther.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
arak 12/5/2012 | 12:44:15 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces Mary,

Lets just say that have enough potential to fulfil the needs of the Unstrung vendors who are being price gouged by 800lb gorillas. Can't say much due to legalities.

dbostan 12/5/2012 | 12:44:14 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces They also tried to market a router accelerator as a blade in 7000 Cisco routers.
And Cisco told users that if they insert such a blade in their Cisco router, the warranty would be voided.
Consequently, the company was not very successful (I am very euphemistic).
Why would Cisco behave differently in Seranoa's case?
broadbandboy 12/5/2012 | 12:44:12 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces This does the same thing as an SMS, just optimized for a different network environment.

arak 12/5/2012 | 12:44:10 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces This is no SMS or router accelerator card. All it does is terminate channelized and unchannelized HDLC and PPP streams on the front end and connect via GigE on the back end to the router. VLANs maintain the channelization. It is a layer 2/3 termination device that lets the router do all the routing and other higher services, while it terminates TDM ports at a much cheaper price.

Imagine many of these boxes being connected to a layer 3 switch/router. A GSR 12K will look like an absurdly overpriced grandma's Cadillac compared to this kind of a solution.
kgld 12/5/2012 | 12:44:09 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces The price comparison makes sense with Cisco 75xx line cards. Do not ignore edge routers from Juniper (Unisphere) and others..
xsiliconkid 12/5/2012 | 12:44:00 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces First, edge routers were designed and optimised for gigE connectivity. I believe Seranoa's product connects to gigE ports on the Edge routers of Cisco & Juniper - no warranty issues there. Think about it, GIGe ALLOWs line card connectivity to layer 2/3 switches from extreme & foundy etc, allowing them to play in the edge game as well....
their site www.seranao.com seems to spell it out.
USA 12/5/2012 | 12:43:58 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces I can see LR's heading now if Seranoa doesn't make it.

Seranoa is Syanara ! (or how ever you spell it...)
xsiliconkid 12/5/2012 | 12:43:54 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces :-) or maybe it's sayounara for some of the competition...
stack-man 12/5/2012 | 12:43:43 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces That all sounds good but how many big providers are going to want have another box in front of their router. That means they have another box to monitor, troubleshoot, get stats from, provision, etc. That touches a lot of people in the support side of the business. The cost savings end up getting spent elsewhere.

I could see where smaller outfits would like this but will they do enough business to keep Seranoa afloat?
xsiliconkid 12/5/2012 | 12:43:28 AM
re: Seranoa Surfaces talk about costly support boxes.
Don't many Service providers today use products like frame relay switches, 7206 type router , & even ATM switches just to aggragate traffic rather than pay the huge Cisco line card cost...?
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