Extreme Runs Rings Around Backhaul

The E4G product family announced by Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) Monday could help bring the concept of network rings to the mobile backhaul world.

The E4G-200 Cell Site Router and E4G-400 Cell Site Aggregation Router will support the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) G.8032 standard for packet rings as well as Extreme's Ethernet Automatic Protection Switching (EAPS).

Microwave backhaul, in particular, is usually arranged in point-to-point fashion, with all cell sites sending traffic to a hub. A ring would add resiliency, because it gives a cell tower two options for the backhaul signal (one in either direction of the ring).

Why this matters
Everybody's going to be looking for an angle in the crowded market of Ethernet-based mobile backhaul. That's going to be doubly true while the whiff of Mobile World Congress is in the air.

G.8032 is a standard, yes, but it's derived from EAPS, which gives Extreme a few years' head start in working with the concept. Moreover, Extreme's seem to be the first boxes supporting G.8032.

G.8032 isn't a guaranteed hit. (Remember back when Resilient Packet Ring Technology seemed soooo important?) But for a company that's certainly no Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), at a time when every boxmaker is going to be touting 4G backhaul -- heck, Ciena launched something today -- Extreme has a good sound bite to lean on. Whether it's a big deal or a niche remains to be seen.

For more
Extreme is a company in transformation, with a new CEO and some interesting technology acquired from Soapstone Networks. Here's a summary of what Extreme's been up to.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 5:13:29 PM
re: Extreme Runs Rings Around Backhaul

Ciena tells us their gear, too, supports G.8032, among other resiliency protocols.  So much for that edge.

Extreme still has a longer track record with the technology, since it originated with them. But Ciena has years of experience putting things into rings... Sonet/SDH things, granted, but some of that experience might translate.

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