Extreme, Alcatel-Lucent feed carrier Ethernet frenzy

Extreme switches address Ethernet transport, Alcatel routers tackle mobile backhaul

Extreme Networks and Alcatel-Lucent this week are unveiling equipment designed to further whet carriers' appetites for Ethernet.

Extreme is rolling out a new high-end BlackDiamond switch for high capacity carrier Ethernet transport. Separately, Alcatel-Lucent is introducing smaller scale routers built specifically for service providers migrating from TDM circuits to Ethernet for mobile backhaul.

IDC expects the carrier Ethernet routing and switching market to reach US$5.15 billion in 2008, up 20.5 percent from 2007. The firm forecasts a compound annual growth rate of 17.5 percent to 2012, at which time the market will exceed US$7.6 billion.

Extreme's BlackDiamond 20808 features 120Gbps per slot bandwidth, with 64 10Gbps Ethernet ports per chassis and 192 10Gpbs Ethernet ports per rack. The system is designed to scale 2 to 5Tbps, with 40Gbps and 100Gbps Ethernet interfaces.

With the 20808, Extreme claims an almost threefold increase in bandwidth and measureable port density advantage over its nearest three competitors -- Juniper's MX960, Alcatel-Lucent's 7450 Ethernet services switch, and Cisco's 7600 series router. And at US$5,800 per 10G port, Extreme is claiming the 20808 is less than half the cost of those systems.

The switch is intended to address Ethernet aggregation requirements for services such as triple and quad play, streaming video, Ethernet private line and Ethernet LAN, and mobile backhaul. For those applications, the 20808 includes hardware based QoS, support for multicast streams, Provider Backbone Bridging and its derivatives, VPLS and Ethernet cross-connect capabilities, Extreme says.

The BlackDiamond 20808 will be available in December.

Just as Extreme's BlackDiamond 20808 is a Swiss army knife for carrier Ethernet transport, Alcatel-Lucent's 7705 Service Aggregation Routers are built for one purpose: mobile backhaul.

The company extended that line with the 7705 SAR -- Fixed Form Factor (7705 SAR-F), a 1RU router featuring 16 T1/E1 ports plus six 10/100Mbps and two Gigabit Ethernet ports. It is designed to provide a bridge for mobile and wireline operators to migrate to IP/MPLS for cost and bandwidth efficiencies as they build out 4G/LTE wireless infrastructures.

Alcatel-Lucent is also announcing availability of Release 1.1 of the 7705 SAR operating system software. Release 1.1 includes an end-to-end synchronous Ethernet capability, as well as High-Speed Packet Access offload using Generic Routing Encapsulation.

The 7705 SAR-F will be available in the fourth quarter.

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