Alcatel routers get terabit upgrade

Alcatel's in-house-developed FP2 chipset will increase the capacity of its routers tenfold

Using a chipset developed in-house, Alcatel-Lucent routers will have a 10-fold capacity increase, which is needed to handle ever-increasing amounts of video traffic.

The new chipset, FP2, took three years to develop and can handle up to 100Gbps. High-performance chipsets still need to be developed in-house, partly because they are produced in small quantities, according to Lindsay Newell, vice president of marketing at Alcatel-Lucent's Internet Protocol division.

The existing 7750 Service Router, and its sibling 7450 Ethernet Service Switch, will be able to take advantage of the chipset's increased speed using a new card, called IOM3-XP. 100Gbps times 10 slots in a 7750 Service Router gets to what Alcatel-Lucent describes as terabit performance.

To get the most out of the upgrade, carriers will also have to buy new line cards, which more than double the density of Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Customers can choose between 20 Gigabit Ethernet ports, for fiber or copper networks, and two or four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports per card.

The capacity boost also opens the door to future support for the upcoming 100 Gigabit Ethernet standard.

But the FP2 upgrade isn’t just about raw bandwidth. Being able to handle more services without lower performance is equally important. Using the FP2 can support up to 10 times the number of services per router.

Besides new line cards, with more ports, Alcatel-Lucent is also launching cards to improve VPN performance and dig deeper into packets.

The IPSec-Integrated Service Adapter handles up to 64,000 concurrent IPSec VPN tunnels, but that requires four units in one chassis. The card can also be used in the 7710 SR router.

The Application Assurance Integrated Service Adapter supports deep packet inspection and can be used by carriers to offer more fine-grained Quality of Service.

Both will be shipped during the second quarter. The rest of the products will ship during the third quarter. Alcatel-Lucent isn’t announcing any pricing.

Alcatel-Lucent isn't the only vendor launching these types of products. Cisco Systems recently unveiled the Aggregation Services Router 1000 series. But, not surprisingly for a competitor, Cisco's router series isn't in the same league, according to Alcatel-Lucent.

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