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Routing

Disruptive router vendor DriveNets shifts up a gear

Only months after AT&T shared its specifications for a distributed disaggregated chassis (DDC) to the Open Compute Project (OCP), disruptive virtual router startup DriveNets, along with white box hardware vendor UfiSpace and chip specialist Credo, is ready to demonstrate what it claims is "the largest live demonstration of a distributed router cluster ever given in public" at the OCP Experience Center in early March.

The DDC is an important router design because it's set to play a key role in the development of AT&T's global IP common backbone, which carries the Tier 1 operator's IP traffic, and is likely to influence next-gen router deployments by other network operators.

The planned live demonstration of a software-based router with a cluster size of 96 Tbit/s and including a mix of 100G and 400G interfaces, "is a key milestone in our efforts to open and disaggregate the traditional network architecture," noted Rajeev Sharma, the OCP's Software and Technologies Director, in a press release about the demo. "The demonstration by UfiSpace, Credo and DriveNets is a great proof point for our vision of building any size router in a flexible, low-cost way – from a single white box to a cluster of white boxes supporting a single router entity of 100 Tbit/s."

The design, which is set to be submitted to the OCP as an official reference design, is "aligned with the vision of TIP [Telecom Infra Project]," according to DriveNets, which along with UfiSpace is a participant in TIP's Disaggregated Open Router Initiative.

The demo comes on the heels of a recent survey of 63 network operator executives conducted by Heavy Reading (the smart part of the Light Reading group) that highlighted the potential for upheaval in telco IP networks: 46% of respondents reported that they expect radical changes in the next three years to their IP network architecture; 30% reported that their organization is still undecided on their IP network strategy; while 20% reported no expectations for radical change.

"We knew there was a lot of interest in disaggregation, but how ready the telecom industry is for radical changes in their IP networks surprised us," noted Sterling Perrin, a principal analyst at Heavy Reading. "The survey results show that operators globally are deeply committed to open technologies and to software-based solutions to improve network profitability and to efficiently scale to meet future network demands," he stated in his conclusions.

As part of its efforts to become entrenched in the routing strategies of more major network operators, DriveNets has struck a partnership with US systems integrator and network technology distributor KGPCo to "accelerate the deployment of disaggregated networks at Tier 1 service providers worldwide." For more on that love-in, see this press release.

For more on DriveNets, see:

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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