AlcaLu Pumps Up Backhaul Portfolio

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is adding a new workhorse to its mobile backhaul portfolio in the form of the 10-rack unit 7705 Service Aggregation Router (SAR)-18, which has been designed for deployment at large aggregation points. (See AlcaLu Enhances Backhaul Offer.)

The new box builds on the existing SAR portfolio, which includes the original SAR-8 -- launched in 2007 when the vendor announced its Mobile Evolution Transport Architecture (META) -- and the single-rack unit SAR-F, announced two years ago. (See AlcaLu Targets Wireless Backhaul, AlcaLu Unveils 7705, and AlcaLu Plugs Its Backhaul Hole.)

AlcaLu, which is showing off the new product at this week's 4G World event in Chicago, says the SAR-18 is "optimized for large aggregation sites or smaller central hub sites." The new product supports 384 T1/E1 lines (compared with the SAR-8's 96) and scales up to 140 Gbit/s of capacity. The vendor says the product is currently in trials, and will become generally available by the end of 2010.

AlcaLu also notes that the SAR range is now integrated with the 9500 Microwave Packet Radio to provide service providers the "flexibility to architect their networks with optimal topologies (by site), with lowest cost and best performance."

The vendor has designed the SAR units to be suitable for 2G, 3G, and LTE deployments -- a level of flexibility that has attracted some major customers, including Verizon Wireless , which is gearing up to launch its Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. (See Verizon Breathing Down Sprint's 4G Neck, AlcaLu, Juniper, Cisco Share AT&T Domain Status, AlcaLu Pitches Single-Vendor LTE, CTIA 2010: Verizon Picks AlcaLu for LTE Backhaul, and Bouygues Backhauls With AlcaLu.)

Landing major customers such as Verizon has given AlcaLu a leading position in the worldwide Ethernet cell site gateway and router market for the first half of 2010, with a 23 percent share of the market (by revenues), according to Infonetics Research Inc.

AlcaLu, of course, isn't the only switch/router vendor making hay in the mobile backhaul sector, the strength of which is boosting quarterly growth in the Carrier Ethernet switch/router market. (See Carrier Ethernet Switch/Router Market Grows, NSN Migrates 100 to IP, Testing Cisco's Next-Gen Mobile Network, Mobile Backhaul Driving Carrier Ethernet Success, and ECI Tunes In to Radio Backhaul .)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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