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Optical/IP

Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing

A handful of big data switch vendors are readying announcements of equipment that combines both IP routing and ATM switching in products they claim will help carriers take another step toward revamping their core networks.

Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), and Marconi PLC (Nasdaq/London: MONI) have confirmed the imminent release of gear that supports switching and routing in both cell- and packet-based networks. And sources say Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) is waiting in the wings.

Here are the highlights:

  • Alcatel says the second release of its 7670 Routing Switch Platform (RSP), now in customer trials, is set for the end of next week. New features will include support of a multishelf design, in which the basic switching fabric is isolated from the interface cards. This will enable Alcatel to support 450-Gbit/s capacity with OC48 connectivity (OC192 is due late in 2002), as well as combined ATM switching and IP routing.
  • Lucent says its TMX 880 Multiservice Exchange Switch will ship at the end of January 2002, with OC192 support, ATM switching and IP routing, and 160 Gbit/s of capacity. Lucent's not saying anything about trials just yet, however.
  • Marconi says its BXR-48000 is in field trials with one top-tier carrier, with two more trials expected to start before general availability in March 2002. At that time, the product will support OC48 and feature 240 Gbit/s of capacity, as well as ATM switching. By June, it will have OC192 support and 480 Gbit/s of capacity, as well as IP routing capabilities, the vendor says.
  • Nortel is said to be readying its Passport 20000, the next iteration of its multiservice WAN switch, for first-quarter 2002 release. This box will be equipped with OC192, ATM switching and IP routing, and about 160 Gbit/s of full-duplex bandwidth, sources say. Nortel would not comment.

The trend highlights a new sense of urgency among vendors to lay claim to what they see as a multibillion-dollar opportunity to help carriers preserve incoming revenue from existing ATM and frame relay networks, while moving to IP-based future networks -- ones that will be ready to deploy MPLS Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to control quality of service (see Lucent Unveils Product Lineup and Alcatel ATM Switch Steps Up).

While the upcoming crop of switches doesn't convert traffic between ATM and MPLS, the vendors hope that supporting both concurrently will at least support carriers interested in having both kinds of networks for the foreseeable future.

But analysts say the jury's out on whether the established ATM switch vendors can pull off their plans. This is primarily because they're taking so much on by aiming to support both switching and routing in one platform.

The vendors say this tack is key. If they support only ATM, they'll be unable to offer the throughput and granularity carriers want in future IP networks, they say. If they support IP only, they'll threaten their existing technology -- which they say carriers don't want to do.

"By supporting both switching and routing in one platform, we give carriers a choice," says Mike Lisanti, director of product management for the BXR at Marconi. "We don't dictate to them one way or the other. We avoid cell and packet tax. We provide full Layer 3 functionality. We don't just tunnel ATM over IP packets. This gives us greater efficiency and scaleability."

Despite these arguments, the strategy's pitfalls are clear. Carriers will need to invest in the new equipment, which will be expensive. There's some argument about the relative merits of MPLS itself (see MPLS Gets Lukewarm Reviews and Has the IETF lost it?). And despite claims to the contrary, there will be a point at which the switch vendors position their wares in direct competition with routers from the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR).

Sources say one has only to look at the ailing Avici Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: AVCI; Frankfurt: BVC7) to see what's at stake in this strategy (see Avici Warns, Wall Street Scorns). Cisco and Juniper not only have clear dominance in the market, they also have their own core strategies in mind. In addition, Cisco is readying a follow-on to its own Cisco MGX 8850 IP + ATM Multiservice Switch, one that will presumably have capacity equivalent to what the other vendors plan to offer.

"We want to provide core transparency, whether that means packet, cell, or frame," says Don Proctor, VP and general manager of Cisco's Multiservice Switching business unit. Clearly, Cisco's ready to mine its own share of the legacy migration market.

There's also a chance the switch vendors won't be able to pull off the technology fast enough to gain traction. Marconi, for instance, admits that its full roster of core features won't be ready until mid-2002, a full year and half after its first announcement.

The switch vendors also face competition from emerging players like Équipe Communications Corp., which says its Équipe 3200 (É3200) platform allows carriers to move their ATM networks to MPLS functionality without having to install a separate IP infrastructure first (see Équipe: Take the ATM Road to MPLS).

For its part, Équipe, perhaps prudently, is staying out of the routing fray. "We have never said anything about supporting native IP," insists VP of marketing Bob Sullebarger.

Analysts say all this adds up to a major challenge, one the switch vendors will need help to overcome. "The concept of a switch/router is as old as the hills... But if the switch vendors are really serious about routing, they'd better have the inside track with important customers," says Jim Lawrence, program director at Stratecast Partners. "Otherwise, they're asking to become another Ironbridge." (See IronBridge Has Fallen Down, Ironbridge 'Sold for Parts', and Ironbridge's Last Ditch Efforts Fail.)

It's more likely, Lawrence says, that the emerging switches will wind up taking over label switching in MPLS networks, leaving the heavy lifting at Layer 3 to the big router players. This is still a growing opportunity. "Internets, intranets, and extranets are going to have a lot of label-switched paths [to handle]," he says.

Whatever materializes, the established switch vendors seem more than ready to stake their claims, big time, and they're not backing down on the biggest claim of all -- to support IP routing. "We've had a lot of debates internally about what to call [our product]," says Marconi's Lisanti. "ATM switch, router... We will offer carrier-class IP routing." — Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com
Steeler 12/4/2012 | 7:22:53 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing I think he was referring to Mr. RC, last name rhymes with potatoe.
broadbandboy 12/4/2012 | 7:22:56 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing froggy wrote: "Then came the era of revenue/profit reporting and that was the end of a nice dream. VP of IP network left the company ( pushed out ?), the ATM guys who had been making money all along, took the control again."

Thanks froggy for the insight into the situation. I hate to bring up names on a public board, but I gotta ask, the VP was Mr. Y?

BBboy
flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:23:42 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing
I tend to place aggressive messages to see if an opinion holds water. All I can tell from this thread is that there is no consensus about the success of MPLS. But it would be nice if LR looked at some customers and not just the vendor side of MPLS.
froggy 12/4/2012 | 7:23:43 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing They were, Nortel and Alcatel have been selected for the ATMoMPLS application. But again, this project is on-hold, so Fore might copme back next year
froggy 12/4/2012 | 7:23:43 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Flanker,

Don't get me wrong... I really hope you WIN this argument. I have some vested interest in MPLS
flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:23:43 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing None of the European carriers you list have real MPLS implementation, unless you call Tag switching MPLS-TDP ?

I disagree. MPLS penetration in the edge and core is increasing, not decreasing, in each and every one of theses networks. We'll see next year.




Ice Man 12/4/2012 | 7:23:44 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing I've heard rumors C&W is testing MPLS & POS blades for their embedded base of Marconi ASX-4000s. According to the ATM & IP Report Marconi is supposed to have OC-3/12/48 POS interfaces for that switch.

Can anyone confirm this?
froggy 12/4/2012 | 7:23:46 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Flanker,

Sorry but you are confusing Press Releases with real live network deployment.

In the list you have given, the only one that tried live-network implementation of MPLS is AT&T with Avici MPLS LDP-RSVP conversion. This ended up in the failure we all know.

None of the European carriers you list have real MPLS implementation, unless you call Tag switching MPLS-TDP ?
froggy 12/4/2012 | 7:23:46 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing BBBoy,

It was neither Alcatel nor Juniper's fault. There were some technical issues on the router (the infamous M160 packet loss architecture flaw) but those would have been fixed over time.

No, the main issue is that the C&W net-heads were on top the world, building the reference IP network of tomorrow, buying 4 x M160 where a good old M40 or an ATM switch could have done the job.

Then came the era of revenue/profit reporting and taht was the end of a nice dream. VP of IP network left the company ( pushed out ?), the ATM guys who had been making money all along, took the control again. First thing they did is cancel the planned JNPR orders and build a plan on how to carry IP traffic on their ATM network.

Summary :
England - U.S 1-0
RouteThis 12/4/2012 | 7:23:47 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Gents and Ladies,

I hope you and your families all have a blessed holiday season and new year - and that a year from now we all will be celebrating in far better (albeit more realistic) times.

-RT
skeptic 12/4/2012 | 7:23:50 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Great, let's re-invent frame relay and sell it on a router so that the carrier can buy routers to offer the same service to their existing customers for half the price.

Great business model, do you work for JNPR ?
----------------------

Ok, instead how about we come up with an overly
complex scheme using BGP for VPNs which in
the end doesn't give us more than what
frame relay did, but requires us to buy lots
and lots of routers so that we can store the
customer's routing information in the core
of the network.

And on top of that, we can make the scheme so
complex that neither the operator (who doesn't
understand the customer network) or the
customer (who has no control of the routers
at the provider) can debug problems once they
occur.

2547 will sell a whole lot more routers than
the alternatives.
flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:23:58 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing This article is about mutiservice switches, not core routers. A better question would be, how many data service providers, not just ISPs, are running layer 2 frame, ATM, etc. over an MPLS core using a multiservice switch?

I am not even sure it is appropriate to say "MPLS core" because MPLS is not a protocol, just a label convention.

Obviously LRs editors need to shed more light on the subject of MPLS deployment, becuase we posters are simply runnning around in circles debating where and by who and in what part of the network MPLS has been deployed.

The problem is that if you are going to pretend that global carriers dont count, and instead interview Silicon Valley VCs preaching their own religion (IP over glass, RPR), you aren't going to get a picture that looks anything like reality.



trepanne 12/4/2012 | 7:23:59 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing
"Level3, joining ATT and a lot of other US and European carriers, announced that they have incorporated MPLS into the backbone this week."

for the record, level3 has had an MPLS backbone for a long time.

their recent announcement concerned implementing draft-martini.

trp
broadbandboy 12/4/2012 | 7:24:00 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing flanker wrote: "Let's expand the list of networks with MPLS in the core:"

In the core of what? We have to define what we are talking about here. Carriers have multiple networks. For simplicity, lets say they have an IP router network and a frame-atm-dsl network. Some may be using MPLS in the IP core for traffic engineering. We know that.

This article is about mutiservice switches, not core routers. A better question would be, how many data service providers, not just ISPs, are running layer 2 frame, ATM, etc. over an MPLS core using a multiservice switch?

BBboy
Belzebutt 12/4/2012 | 7:24:00 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Great, let's re-invent frame relay and sell it on a router so that the carrier can buy routers to offer the same service to their existing customers for half the price.

Great business model, do you work for JNPR ?


If it does the job, what's wrong with it? It offers all the "neat" features of MPLS, but you don't have to put up with the routing table mess of 2547. What exactly is the technical reason why you dislike L2 VPN? Is it because you have to use frame relay encapsulation with it? That's not a problem if your customer uses POS interfaces. I'm not even sure, can you encapsulate ATM over L2 VPN?
Belzebutt 12/4/2012 | 7:24:00 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing but more likely in the DSLAM which feeds an ATM DS3 or OC-3 into the ATM network.

Actually the DSLAM will have to feed it into a user aggregation / IP services box, which will need to SAR it, do its stuff, and then SAR it back again most likely at OC-3 or OC-12.
flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:24:01 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Let's expand the list of networks with MPLS in the core:

ATT
Telefonica
Deutsche Telekom
Global One
Telecom Italia
Teleglobe
NTT
Storm
China Unicom
Embratel

broadbandboy 12/4/2012 | 7:24:02 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing froggy wrote: "C&W has cancelled their MPLS converged network project"

Why? Couldn't they get it to work? Whose fault was it, Juniper or Alcatel? Or is the problem with MPLS itself?

Maybe there is not enough gain from convergence to justify the cost?

BBboy

Steeler 12/4/2012 | 7:24:03 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing You seem caught up in examples of ATM used for DSL aggregation and Frame NNIs. Do you understand the difference between framing the 53 byte ATM cell and 810 byte SONET frame ? I am not mixing terms, they are two separate events. In ISP cores, the process of ATM framing, and the source of SAR headaches, occurs at the ingress point, long after traffic has left the cust. site. These cores were originally designed to drop variable length IP packets into 53 byte ATM cells and then into 810 byte SONET frames. This seems cumbersome, but is no problem operationally OC-12 and down. But OC-48 and OC-192 are another story. POS obviously requires the SONET frame, but not the ATM cell. And again, this is why ISPs have used MPLS as a replacement on these trunks.
froggy 12/4/2012 | 7:24:04 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Tx lu-alum,

By the way, LVLT is using it only for fast-reroute, C&W has cancelled their MPLS converged network project, is anybody still working at UUnet and GBLX ?
froggy 12/4/2012 | 7:24:04 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Great, let's re-invent frame relay and sell it on a router so that the carrier can buy routers to offer the same service to their existing customers for half the price.

Great business model, do you work for JNPR ?
lu-alum 12/4/2012 | 7:24:05 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing It's the resurrected Nottabit product.
lu-alum 12/4/2012 | 7:24:06 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing "Many ISPs introduce ATM framing at the ingress to their core, creating the SAR problems"


You lost me there buddy. In a Frame relay serivce the SARing happens at the first provider edge switch usually the frame circuits come in fractional T1, T1 or DS3. The Interworking and SARing happens there. In a DSL network it happens either in the DSL modem, but more likely in the DSLAM which feeds an ATM DS3 or OC-3 into the ATM network. So yes the SARing does happen out on the edge not at the ingress to the core, unless you consider the core to be the first provider switch.

Let's be clear about one other thing. You're mixing terms. I'm not sure what ATM framing is. I think you mean SONET or SDH framing (aligning the cells within the SPE which is a layer 1 function and is the same whether you are running IP or ATM on the link). SARing is a layer-2 ATM specific function.

Cheers

netgenius 12/4/2012 | 7:24:06 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing I thought the Lucent Multiservice switch was dead? Is this 880 a revived 25000?
Steeler 12/4/2012 | 7:24:08 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing You're incorrectly assuming that ATM framing is occurring at some point near the customer prem. Many ISPs introduce ATM framing at the ingress to their core, creating the SAR problems. This is precisely where MPLS (on top of POS) makes the most sense, and where large ISPs have implemented it.

ATM remains on most OC-12 ISP trunks, but 48s and especially 192s run mostly on MPLS.
_____ 12/4/2012 | 7:24:11 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Route this wrote: "I hope Equipe has improved on the boat anchor that was/is Naviscore (the NMS used for the Cascade/Lucent CBX-500s and GX-550s). Naviscore was ok back in 1998, but let's get with the program and deliver a carrier class Element Manager/NMS solution for those of us living in 2001. Alcatel's is better - Even Marconi's is better and they have less experience in this area (not so sure how Nortel's Preside stacks up...).

Bottom line is that Equipe (and their cronies) cannot make grandiose claims that they did such a great job the first time around (Cascade). And that old gear they're bragging about is the same gear & NMS that carriers are not satisfied with and want to replace or at least reshuffle.

...anyone who's actually seen Equipe's Element Manager/NMS feel free to chime in here. I've seen Wavesmith's and some of that didn't look to bad."


I know enough to say a few of the ex cascade nms guys are at Wavesmith so if they improved upon it then they are doing the right thing. I don't know of ANY ex cascade NMS guys at Equipe so I doubt Equipe would be making the same mistakes Cascade did in the NMS area. Most of this info can be found on the company web sites.

lu-alum 12/4/2012 | 7:24:11 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing All of them(are NOT delpoying MPLS) except....

C&W, LVLT, UUnet and Global Crossing.

Everyone else is conducting science projects, not revenue bearing networks.
lu-alum 12/4/2012 | 7:24:12 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing "try segmenting and reassembling packets into ATM cells at OC-192"


I hear this a lot, but it's inaccurate. Having OC-192c does not require an OC-192 SAR. SARing happens at the ingress (IAD, DSLAM etc). I don't see any reason to SAR a 192 POS link to 192 ATM. That's ridiculous. By the time you get deep enough into the network to need 192, your' miles from the SAR. Unless you believe that OC-192 will be a big customer interface.

Next
Belzebutt 12/4/2012 | 7:24:13 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Why is everyone only mentioning 2547 VPNs? It seems to me like L2 VPNs (draft-kompella-ppvpn-l2vpn) are a better at being VPNs, are simpler, and are much closer to what ATM and FrameRelay offer.
flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:24:13 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing That is the best sign that MPLS will dramatically fail.

Name just 1 major carrier that isn't deploying MPLS.





broadbandboy 12/4/2012 | 7:24:14 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Sio2 wrote: "the toshiba CSR is the first one that comes to mind. this spawned like progeny from ipsilon, ibm, and cisco."

Thanks for blast from the bast! This reads like a list of original contributors to the MPLS concept - Cell Switched Router, ARRIS, Ipsilon, Navigator, Tag, etc.

In response to my question about what ATM switch ever evolved into a true router, many people cited attempts at building a core asic based "switch-router" like Argon and NetCore. I believe those were both cell-based. I know less about Nexabit, but they never did ATM switching on the box.

We know Argon and NetCore both failed, despite being purchased for tidy sums (so maybe they achieved their true purpose in life!)

As for ATM switches, someone mentioned Nexion. Now there was an outfit that spent somebody's money (fujitsu?) and accomplished absolutely nothing! If some of you ex-Nexioners want to prove me wrong, go right ahead.

I can't come up with a single example. The closest might be Cisco (Stratacom), who managed to bolt a 7000 onto the same chassis as the ATM switch.

Looking at the LR article, how many of the vendors are actually doing layer 3 routing and layer 2 switching? I don't think they all are.

BBboy
broadbandboy 12/4/2012 | 7:24:14 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing RouteThis wrote: "Sites like Lightreading always seem to focus too much on the product/data sheet items. For carrier class products you (lightreading) folks need to remember about the Operations/Management/Provisioning realities
and tell us who has the best."

RT brings up a good point. You don't see many articles about management systems and OSS integration.

Why? Maybe it seems boring to reporters. Or maybe its hard to write about something that you have to see and experience first hand? Its always easier to talk about the speeds and feeds.

And how do SPs determine who has the best EMS when they do their RFPs? I mean, how do you figure out on paper whose is best?

And what really drives SP purchase decisions, is it density, rack space and power, or operating/manamgement systems? Or some combination of both?

Any insights might help these guys write better articles.
RouteThis 12/4/2012 | 7:24:17 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing OP EX is a greater concern for RBOCs than boxes and the latest-greatest technologies those boxes support.

Carriers are not going to replace an ATM or Frame Relay network unless it makes them money. If their Operations staff needs to learn a new vendor's Element Manager (GUI) that's strike one. If they then are told they need to train their Operations staff (that only knows ATM/Frame Relay) that's strike two. If it costs the same or more than what they are already doing - that's strike three.

Also, the UUNETs and C&Ws of the data world are never going to have the same gear as an RBOC-type voice carrier.

The only people doing any real "convergence" at this time are the cable companies. Through AT&T Broadband (soon to be Comcast) I can get Voice (local), Video (digital cable) and Broadband data (cable modem) all from the same wire they feed into my house. "Joe ISP" & UUNET cannot offer that all-in-one service nor can Verizon nor can the Dish network folks. Riverstone (and Cisco? CMTS?) is kicking some serious butt in the Cable space.

Anyone who has in depth knowledge of the Cable space please chime with your insight...
billyjoebob 12/4/2012 | 7:24:18 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Migration implies I don't SAR unless I need to. Marconi gave a presentation recently where they say that their fabric isn't cell or packet but will pass either without converting. If thats true then you don't need to SAR unless the source and destination are different frameing types. That would allow vendors to hedge their bets on MPLS and do ATM and IP routing on a single platform without a penalty of SARing to cross a cell fabric or buffering on SARed ATM links from packet fabrics. Of course this all remains to be seen - everybody looks good on paper or slides.
Steeler 12/4/2012 | 7:24:20 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing MPLS also eliminates ATM framing, watch what happens to your switch buffers when you try segmenting and reassembling packets into ATM cells at OC-192
dude007 12/4/2012 | 7:24:21 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing right on the mark billyjoebob.
also to consider that connection oriented technologies (ala atm and mpls) are easier on the operator as they allow some form of traffic management which is not available in the pure ip world. this means that the operator can increase the network utilization while decreasing the congestion by simply doing traffic engineering. try doing that in a simple ip environment.

to conclude, while the ip has clearly won the war of the end adressing schemes, it does not mean that it has to be used in the core of the network since there are far better (from the perspective of the owners of that core) alternatives. mpls is not ip after all, rather it's atm with ip end addresses instead of nsap.
billyjoebob 12/4/2012 | 7:24:24 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Along with capes issues comes the question of -Show me the money. The IP guys keep saying that the wave of new traffic is all IP so the core of networks has to be IP. And they say that higher margin services will come from MPLS - like 2547 VPNs - and so everybody will be rich. But in fact other than 2547 VPNs nobody has come up with an application that MPLS will enable that existing technologies don't already do better. The question to be asked is - when? As such the debate then becomes - how can you build a core network that can support existing high revenues from edge services like Frame Relay and ATM but still be useful as MPLS evoles - if ever. In that respect core routers are suspect as being well suited to quality because of extreme variables in latency and jitter - where switches excel. Ideally Marconi and Equip are positioned to try to support either equally. I think the argument isn't which is better ATM or IP but how do I get from ATM to connection oriented packets without layering networks. If it was as easy as installing one and pulling the plug on the other every ISDN line in the world would be long gone, and TDM circuits would be a thing of the past. They who can manage a slow, smooth reliable transition will win.
froggy 12/4/2012 | 7:24:25 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing It has nothing to do with products. It's all about politics, eveyboby who is selling in this business knows that carriers will continue to run two parallel networks for the next 5 years, a fast growing IP core (JNPR, CSCO, AVCI?) and a slowly declining multi-service frame/ATM (ALA, LU, CSCO, NT).

Now, let's say you are selling an ATM switch to the ATM network guys at a large carrier. The ATM carrier wants to buy ATM, that's all he knows, he is comfortable with the technology, it works, it reinforces his position in the corporation. Issue is, the big bosses have heard that IP is growing and ATM is dead, so what do you do ? You work with your buddy the ATM switch vendor and you put lipstick on the ATM switch Pig to make the boss believe it can do IP too. Then everybody is happy and you can continue to buy these good ol' Cascade, Stratacom, or Newbridge switches.

The irony of MPLS is that initially the router vendors were pushing it to help their IP friends to cannibalize the ATM business by providing an ATM ersatz. Now , the ATM vendors use MPLS to protect their highly profitable ATM business.
That is the best sign that MPLS will dramatically fail.


lu-alum 12/4/2012 | 7:24:28 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Hmmm...wonder where RouteThis works
RouteThis 12/4/2012 | 7:24:28 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing lr_monger wrote:

"Equipe has a great play as a point product and they will win because of it and the other factors about them (they have been there and done it).

The other ATM switch vendors claiming to have added IP routing to their products are merely putting lipstick on their pigs."
_____________________________________________

Well, by your logic it appears that Equipe themselves (Cascade) was the first to put the "lipstick on their pigs" so...in that sense I agree with you that they have "been there, done that".

In their Cascade incarnation they slapped IP Navigator on a mediocre ATM box that had some form of redundancy.

These guys didn't design the Juniper router of the ATM/MS switch world - be realistic, man. Their chief patron was Lady Luck. They were in the right place at the right time with a mediocre product....sort of like a Cisco Catalyst ethernet switch - it wasn't great but hey, it fit and its timing matched the market for a while.

I hope Equipe has improved on the boat anchor that was/is Naviscore (the NMS used for the Cascade/Lucent CBX-500s and GX-550s). Naviscore was ok back in 1998, but let's get with the program and deliver a carrier class Element Manager/NMS solution for those of us living in 2001. Alcatel's is better - Even Marconi's is better and they have less experience in this area (not so sure how Nortel's Preside stacks up...).

Bottom line is that Equipe (and their cronies) cannot make grandiose claims that they did such a great job the first time around (Cascade). And that old gear they're bragging about is the same gear & NMS that carriers are not satisfied with and want to replace or at least reshuffle.

...anyone who's actually seen Equipe's Element Manager/NMS feel free to chime in here. I've seen Wavesmith's and some of that didn't look to bad.

Sites like Lightreading always seem to focus too much on the product/data sheet items. For carrier class products you (lightreading) folks need to remember about the Operations/Management/Provisioning realities and tell us who has the best.

-RT
Packet Man 12/4/2012 | 7:24:29 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing The Marconi (FORE) ASX4000 used to be a pure ATM only switch. I kept hearing from the sales guys and account managers that ATM is the only way to go, "why buy routers"? Well hmmmm looks like you can buy IP router blades for this thing.

I have no idea about the BXR-48000 but it looks like a "anything over anything" box.
elbowjames 12/4/2012 | 7:24:32 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Lipstick on Pigs. very ggod. I like it a will use it. No copyright I assume?
Mr Moochin 12/4/2012 | 7:24:33 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Although this has been touched on isn't one of the main reasons to purchase these big ATM/IP boxes to enable existing telco's/ISP's using ATM to upgrade their existing core to STM-16/64 from the traditional STM-1/4? Thereby saving the massive expense of installing a large IP network ala Juniper M160/Cisco OSR?

Especially in the existing financial climate this must prove a massively desirable option?
lr_monger 12/4/2012 | 7:24:33 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Equipe has a great play as a point product and they will win because of it and the other factors about them (they have been there and done it).

The other ATM switch vendors claiming to have added IP routing to their products are merely putting lipstick on their pigs.

lr monger




flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:24:34 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Well I think that the first point is that no SP that I am aware of actually builds real hybrid networks. They have entirely separate IP cores and Frame/ATM cores, or else some sort of overlay where one provides service to the other.

I have heard this repeated before by many posters, but the reality is that most IXCs run IP over layer 2 virtual circuits. UUNET and Cable and Wireless, arguably the two largest IP carriers, both run IP over ATM and are migrating to MPLS (Dont know if that's IP Over ATM + MPLS or IP + MPLS). Level3 is using MPLS, even though they touted the network as an IP backbone originally.

By hybrid network perhaps you mean ATM and IP either-or provisionable between nodes, but I am not sure that this is the driver for these multi service platforms (then again, for a carrier using up valuable rack space for routers and ATM nodes, maybe it is). They are migration platforms. I think within 5 years ATMs functionality wil have been absorbed to into one of the emerging protocols.


Holy Grail 12/4/2012 | 7:24:35 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing
Interesting times....

So ATM is going gangbusters? And VoIP is elusive.

IMHO. Native ATM Service never took off, few people have NSAP addresses and even if they did they would be unable to establish an SVC.

ATM was and remains useful as a high speed packet switching transport. Used in the core of the Internet when routers could not support line rate forwarding (not used any more now we have routers with OC192 and line rate forwarding). Still used today in the core of SP carrier networks for transport of Frame Relay Services and Voice Trunking (AAL2).

Is ATM still useful, sure when you consider that most of the SP data revenues come from Frame Relay Services.

So which of these monster ATM switches are likley to be sucessful? Well I guess you need to stop thinking about technology bits and bytes and start looking at who owns the existing Frame/ATM SP infrastructures. In fact it is a 4 horse race, Cisco (Stratacom), Lucent (Ascend, Cascade, Nexabit?), Alcatel (Newbridge), Nortel (Passport).

Marconi only ever had a strong market position with ATM in the SP with the ISP's (Who no longer use ATM in their cores) and with Sprint (Who have an interesting ION architecture which is not typical). Marconi have possibly built a great SP ATM switch at last, problem is they have no market share (3% ish), no account control in the data side of the SP (Transmission and Voice a bit) and their product will not integrate well with the existing deployed ATM kit and management systems (The other vendors will make sure of that).
Marconi are toast for sure. How about ATM the movie?

Of the other 4.... They each own customers and they each have a strategy for upgrading their customers networks. I think Lucent and Alcatel are in good shape, not sure about Cisco and Nortel. Equipe.... I'll just provision another lambda, do you want fries with that? yea right.

Now about this hybrid ATM/IP/MPLS switching market......

Well I think that the first point is that no SP that I am aware of actually builds real hybrid networks. They have entirely separate IP cores and Frame/ATM cores, or else some sort of overlay where one provides service to the other.

Personally I think they are bonkers, they are trying to mix together Oil and Water.

I think that most interesting point to make here is related to the customer service. Customers all want to use IP for data networking applications and Customers all want to get value for money in terms of bandwidth and service.

The problem for the operators is that IP networks are not really architected according to the old telco model of 90 cents a minute, they are more an all you can eat type buffet.

This is the real circle that operators need to square. How to deliver gobs of bandwidth for pennies and still afford a CEO earning millions!

I would suggest that they can and are addressing this in one of two ways.

Try to maintain as much control as possible over the access network infrastructure (This is why the SP's paid silly money for 3G licenses) to stop Customers from being able to go elsewhere.

If they can maintain control, then milk their cashcows for all they are worth (Frame) and in parallel introduce new higher value services that lock customers in to them (IP VPN 2547).

They will invest what they have to to keep milking their cashcows (Larger ATM core switches and higher speed links, plus new edge technologies) but no more than is necessary to keep the gravy train rolling.

In parallel they will invest in their IP service networks to add new high value and sticky services, like bundles of high speed Internet access and new VPN services (L3 and L2 VPN, IPSEC)

The communications services that I want to buy in the 21st century are Voice (Mobile and Fixed) and now IP/Internet access. I want wireless telephony and wireless data in my home and office and everywhere in between, oh and I don't want to pay more than $50 a month!

The SP's need to figure out how best to deliver these services and what technologies they need to do it in a cost effective way. This is a non-trivial task, but personally I think they they would be well advised to avoid trying to integrate ATM with IP, life is going to be quite complicated enough without trying to mix these two in the networks.

IMHO hybrid ATM/IP/MPLS control planes will result in great complexity and cost, and will not in fact deliver the benefit of convergence in terms of a single and therefore (Surely!) lower cost network infrastructure.

Perhaps this is not what operators want to hear or believe, and it may not be what the marketing folks at the ATM vendors want to hear either.




rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 7:24:36 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing I think the router functionality is an MPLS Trojan Horse.
_________________________________

This makes the most sense. Do these MPLS products support path provisioning and QoS such that they can at least meet the basic carrier requirements?

PS. I don't understand why people hate MPLS, though I have never used it so I don't have any real world experience.
flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:24:37 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing "Further destabilizing this, or learning how to be a router company ten years after the fact is suicide.

I think the router functionality is an MPLS Trojan Horse, something nobody wants to concede becuase of all the MPLS haters out there. Level3, joining ATT and a lot of other US and European carriers, announced that they have incorporated MPLS into the backbone this week.






Belzebutt 12/4/2012 | 7:24:38 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing A cynic would say the growth in multiservice has fallen off and this is a deperate leap by all of them to see the world converted to ATM+MPLS which is something those layer 2 products might be able to do, let alone routing.

Even core router sales have fallen this year. There is no gravy train anywhere, but multiservice switches are still selling just like routers. The death of ATM has been proclaimed years ago and yet look at that, it's still going strong. I guess the customer is wrong once again!
It_hurts_when_IP 12/4/2012 | 7:24:39 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing I see the ghosts of Netcore and Argon.

The design and development of the switches from Marconi and Alcatel began in 1998 when Netcore, Argon and Nexabit were getting a lot of attention
for attempting to combine IP routing and ATM switching in the same platfrom. I would think that Marconi (Fore) and Alcatel (Newbridge) would have adjusted plans after witnessing the spectacular failures of the 3 start-ups.
SiO2 12/4/2012 | 7:24:42 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing || Hey skeptic, I am curious,
|| who had an ATM switch and
|| tried to retrofit it as a
|| router?

the toshiba CSR is the first
one that comes to mind. this
spawned like progeny from
ipsilon, ibm, and cisco. one
of the initial, albeit misguided,
motivations for MPLS was to
leverage an IP-based control
plane on top of fast cell
switching data planes. the
evolution of ASIC-based packet
forwarding obsoleted the
viability of this assertion.

there was a startup called
netcore (purchased by tellabs,
if i recall) that had a box
that integrated IP and ATM.
i remember seeing it in
several carrier labs, but
don't recall hearing that
it was ever deployed. it
used a ships-in-the-night
model for integrating IP/ATM,
which is akin to using a
jackhammer to drive a tack.

even today, boxes from cosine,
NET, and their competitors
targets IP/ATM integration.
however, these folks all grok
that ATM has evolved or is
evolving into an access
technology.

SiO2

HarveyMudd 12/4/2012 | 7:24:42 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing The stories about the edge, core, MSSP are nothing new. The coexistence of IP and ATM technolo0gies is nothing new. IP over ATM is also nothing new.

A story after can be sold in so many ways. And this is what it is.

It should be pointed that large public carriers still prefer ATM in spite of propganda to the contrary from the IP vendors. VoIP still remains an elusive technology.
reoptic 12/4/2012 | 7:24:43 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing So do carriers want to terminate IP on the edge and handle layer 2 in the core or terminate ATM/FR on the edge and route in the core. You will have both types but ultimately economics proves out and the growth is in IP traffic which means routing is the more likely path. Look at the relative growth of the multiservice vs. IP equipment to see this more clearly.

And then there is that small matter of adding that little bit of routing functionality to ATM switches to compete at the frontier with the leading router vendors. Even some the guys just focused on routing couldn't do it like Ironbridge, Nexabit, Versalar. Now, no problem the ATM switch vendors will just get it done...will just be ready...later...right, and the routing bar isn't going to move between now and then?

A cynic would say the growth in multiservice has fallen off and this is a deperate leap by all of them to see the world converted to ATM+MPLS which is something those layer 2 products might be able to do, let alone routing. That this was all tried years ago by Cascade with IP Navigator and failed utterly. That Cisco must be loving it for their multiservice business as now all their ATM competitors are moving to their MPLS/IP turf to try to compete with them.

But can all the these equipment companies -- and LR-- be wrong?

flanker 12/4/2012 | 7:24:43 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing Hey skeptic, I am curious, who had an ATM switch and tried to retrofit it as a router? They say memory is the first thing to go...


You're not kidding. The most prominent examples are listed in the table in the story.
_____ 12/4/2012 | 7:24:43 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing I think a couple have tried but I have never seen anything shipped. Examples are the old Fujitsu Nexion 6 year effort and the Nexabit box which is being called from the dead by LU.
I don't believe Avici has anything ATM on-board despite the fact that it was once called a TSR, Terabit Switch Router.
broadbandboy 12/4/2012 | 7:24:46 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing skeptic wrote: "I've heard all this before. Some company has an ATM switch and they try to retrofit it as an IP router mostly because they can't build an IP router themselves."

Hey skeptic, I am curious, who had an ATM switch and tried to retrofit it as a router?

What was the name of the switch?

I believe you, I just can't remember one that fits your description. They say memory is the first thing to go...

Thanks in advance,

Broadbandboy
skeptic 12/4/2012 | 7:24:46 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing
I've heard all this before. Some company has an
ATM switch and they try to retrofit it as an
IP router mostly because they can't build an
IP router themselves.

What they end up with is something that isn't
quite a router and ends up getting sold to
ATM customers for ATM-only use.

Sometimes it seems like these products are built
for people who like ATM switches but for political
reasons have to buy something that has router
features.
mu-law 12/4/2012 | 7:24:52 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing The maturity of purpose-built single-function core routers is already fleeting at best. Further destabilizing this, or learning how to be a router company ten years after the fact is suicide.

Also, the industry offered clear guidance on the non-role of ATM in the core... 3 years ago. Multiservice products are edge products for common carriers. No more, and no less.

To develop products of this sort is to prove that you don't understand the problem. Of those mentioned, only Equipe recogizes reality on this point.
billyjoebob 12/4/2012 | 11:07:15 PM
re: Switch Vendors to Tackle Core Routing I think the question is has anybody devined a method to make an MPLS investment payoff. Network convergence is a Grail Quest and L2 VPN services are already deployed on equipment that is bought and paid for. Why would a vendor buy new equipment to roll a service that reduces their margins and adds no benefit? MPLS cores will remain the bastion of pure IP carriers until such time as somebody can put a business case togther that puts real money on the bottom line, Euros or Dollars - not just promised efficiency improvements.

The bean counters are asking hard questions these days and each division in the SP is being evaluated on their individual bottom lines - new technologies without a decisive competitive or cost advantage will be scrutinized very, very thoroughly. In this light I don't believe MPLS brings enough to the table to justify the cost.

If that is so the follow up question is will vendors invest development money into it if it isn't going to be a distinguishing feature for their products?
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