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Sisyphus
Sisyphus
12/5/2012 | 2:52:26 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge
The thing is that it doesn't really matter what the 7750/7450 are definition wise, the fact is that the combo is causing some hurt and people in Cisco and Juniper wonder what truck hit them when it comes to several recent broadband aggregation plays, which *used* to be pure edge router plays and now have invited in a new breed of product. *That* is the news, a recent trend in whatever it is defeating traditional edge routing architectures.

Then again, we'll have to see how long-lived that trend is. Maybe Alcatel continues to play it as smart as they have (and I'd love to hear how much of it has been by design and how much by accident and luck). Maybe the scaling limitations of an L2 approach in large SP aggregation networks surface, and the game's up and people go back to the IP incumbents.

Maybe a deciding factor is simply the business approach - the ability to cater to the remaining ATM stalwarts in their language with a system integration proposition and with old school telco contracts (heavy discounts being the cherry on top) that the packet-heads didn't quite deem necessary to keep conquering the universe.

It's very interesting:

(1) Awesome job by Alcatel and the Timetra guys thus far' give them credit for executing at all levels and fully exploiting the chinks in Cisco's and Juniper's IP infrastructure armor.

(2) Then again, some preliminary battles may have been waged, but the war for the aggregation is far from over. Instinctively, I see L2 in the smaller scale deployments, but I think L3 is better suited for the large scale ones ultimately. Will Alcatel tame that beast as well? If so, their blend of telco-tradition with a flexible packet oriented product portfolio should make them formidable going forward...
turing
turing
12/5/2012 | 2:52:24 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge
when an ethernet switch is doing forwarding based on VLAN ID (I mean using it as a label rather than as a broadcast domain), what do you call that BTW? connection-oriented or not? and hence, when modern products have so many different modes, trying to say they are a switch or a router is placing a very limiting box around the conversation.

I am saying using the terms connection-oriented vs not is the confusing piece, at least for me. Because they're connection-oriented at some layers but not at others. For example 2 pure L2 ethernet switches with a VLAN trunk between them - the VLAN trunk could be defined as connection-oriented from a broadcast perspective.

Like in your example of a box forwarding based on VLAN tag instead of MAC address - it is a switch if it forwards all ethernet packets of VLAN 1 to VLAN 2, or encapsulates them into VLAN 2 tag, because then it is not the "end" of the IP broadcast domain at all, does not look into the ethernet payload, etc. It just happens to map broadcast domain ID 1 and 2 together as a bridge, such that they are one broadcast domain. In fact in some indirect ways the original 802.1Q VLAN spec accomodated this with "shared" VLANs, but that never really became popular.

It is a router for me if it only forwards VLAN 1 to VLAN 2 based on IP addresses, changes the source MAC to be its own, needs to be IP addressed to respond to ARPs as a gateway, etc.

That's not to say boxes aren't hybrids of the 2 - a layer-3 switch is exactly such a device, where the switch and router are logical functions integrated into one system.

To me it's more an issue of IP. If the device needs to understand IP to forward packets, and connects subnets (ie, broadcast domains), it's a router. If it is layer-3 agnostic, it's a switch.
chook0
chook0
12/5/2012 | 2:52:23 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge
I love the switch vs router flame. It is as old as Methuselah.

Classically, a switch is anything that forwards something from one port to another based on some control function (be that a cross-connect function or an address in a packet.)

In telephony you have class 4 and class 5 switches, etc.

You have switching functions in SONET cross connects.

A multiport bridge is a kind of switch. (But as people correctly pointed out, we didn't start calling them switches until the smart guys at Kalpana wanted a new name for their cut-through multiport bridge.

The classical 2-port bridge is *not* a switch because there is no switching decision involved.

What we today call a router is a kind of switch.

They are all switches.

Sometime in the mid 80s people started sellng commercial products that switched based on L3 addressing (e.g. Cisco AGS, CGS, IGS, the DECRouter, etc.) where previously we had had fuzzballs and unix boxen, and they called them "Routers" but in fact until then the word "router" was just another word for "switch, and a L3 switch was known as a "gateway".

In other words, all the terminology we have today was given to us by the marketeers. An engineer still has to look at what the device really does and what its capabilities are, unfortunately.

To say the 7740 is not a router is just as asinine as saying that just because it is a router it is in the same class of kit and is suitable for the same mission as a T640 or CRS-1. Neither statement survives even the most cursory scrutiny.

--chook
paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 2:52:22 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge

Mark,

I agree with you completely on what you have said. I personally believe that only 2 models of QoS can be deployed en masse: Constant Bit Rate and Best Effort. Trying to tune networks to deliver intermediate QoS types can be done on the small scale (like for enterprises) but not effectively on the large scale.

I agree that ATM networks were good at laying out long hold connections. They could have been good at short hold connections, but two things intervened:

- The first applications were for long hold connections and these lasted for almost 10 years.

- The short hold applications (or lost cost interface applications) were run on these first products without appropriate software work to make the products play in this market. Think about why an BRAS had to exist at all. It didn't. People just didn't update their products to match the new market needs.

I am trying to differentiate technology issues from product issues. I am not trying to say that Ethernet or IP are bad. Everything has its place. Trying to be a zealot and push a single technology to be the end all solution is just a fool's game.

By the way, sorry for the hyperbole about network technicians. But you should travel to say, Namibia and try to do complex telecom installations there.

seven
paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 2:52:22 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge

Tony,

Area codes already worked once and is deployed on a massive scale including wireless (add in country codes as well).

So, your argument does not hold water. It would be a significant paradigm shift, but one makes choices in architecture. Both systems evolved the way they evolved. My statement (which you agree with apparently) is that Area Code routing is simpler than BGP.

seven
uguess
uguess
12/5/2012 | 2:52:21 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge
>My statement (which you agree with apparently) is
>that Area Code routing is simpler than BGP.

Seven,

If you are so sure, why not propose it at the IETF and show us the details?

uguess
paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 2:52:20 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge

uguess,

See the phone network. It exists and has standards. Done.

seven
Tony Li
Tony Li
12/5/2012 | 2:52:19 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge

seven,

Yes, it is in the phone network. The phone network is not a good analogy for the Internet from a routing perspective. The phone network, for example, was developed in a monopoly situation where the topology was well controlled. Subsequently, Judge Green put regulation in place to ensure that the topology of the network conformed to the original addressing plan.

The Internet is not so controlled and without regulation you cannot constrain the topology to match the addressing imposed by the area code. Thus, the routing information would have to expand to carry exception information that would effectively negate any scalability benefit from the area code.

Thus, as I said before, area codes would make BGP simpler, but they would actually make the Internet routing architecture more complicated and less scalable.

This topic has been endlessly debated in the IETF and the rough consensus from the routing area has been quite clear.

'You can make addressing match topology or make the topology match the addressing.' -- Yakov

Tony
paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 2:52:17 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge

The IETF may lose the argument to the UN. And recall Judge Green did not put in place country numbering which impacts the International community.

My point is simply this. It is a choice in evolution. The fact that the Internet evolved as an ad hoc institution makes it have certain postives and negatives. But the reality is it is solving the exact same problem that was solved by the phone network. It solved this problem with the constraint that their needs to be no central function that will make the network inoperable when part of it is blown up in a nuclear blast.

Now, people can defend history and how we got there from here. My point stands: BGP is more complicated than country codes and area codes. I disagree that it would make routing more complicated and less scalable. The phone network, which includes every cell phone has existed before and at greater scale than the Internet. So, I have an existance proof of what I am saying.

People may not like the existance proof. They can argue lots of things. But at the end of the day, phone calls are made.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of religion here. Lots of rebellion against something that was already in existance. And rightly so. But one can not deny the working nature of it.

seven
konafella
konafella
12/5/2012 | 2:52:16 AM
re: Alcatel Router Revenues Surge
Seven, a couple of points to consider. You certainly have the proof in the pudding (and not in the eating, YR ...) and nobody can argue that.

But the complexity of our NANP has to be much greater now than it was 20 years ago with the impact of LNP (and all the complex SCP call intervention stuff that goes on behind the scenes). I would think that the administration of LNP must be eroding the "simplicity" advantage of PSTN's NANP (and global equivalents) over BGP, no?

And with all the access-independant VoIP services being offered now, the area code and NNX (uh, or was that NXX?) are very much decoupled from the lcoation of the user - they really only indicate the location of the PSTN gateway. So your location based argument is less compelling than it might otherwise have been.

The mobility aspect certainly complicates matters. Will make for some interesting dialogue, no doubt.

kf
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