Alcatel-Lucent Re-enters Core Router Market, Should Cisco And Juniper Be Worried?

by Gaurav Kheterpal on May 23, 2012

Alcatel-Lucent and Cisco have never been the best of friends. Last year, the two companies were at loggerheads over the latter’s Cius tablet. However, there’s no denying that they’ve excelled in their respective core strengths. While Alcatel-Lucent leads the pack in wireless infrastructure, Cisco is considered the ‘Big Daddy of Router World’.

Given the fierce competition in the telecom segment, it’s not uncommon to see these arch-rivals encroach upon each other’s strengths. Nearly a decade ago, Alcatel-Lucent tried its hand at routers with the 7770 Routing Core Platform and7670 Routing Switch Platform with ACEIS, which, with all due respect was a debacle.

Since then, Cisco has established itself as the world’s top vendor for edge and core routers. But Alcatel-Lucent isn’t giving up just yet. The company yesterday unveiled a core routing platform, the 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS) – optimized for the video cloud computing. The company’s offering will be up against the Juniper T4000 and the Cisco CRS-3.

Alcatel-Lucent has signed Verizon as the first customer for the 7950 XRS and it believes “We have a real opportunity to gain share … in the core”. Should Cisco and Juniper be worried? Perhaps, it’s too early to gauge that.

The company claims the 7950 XRS uses 66% less power and requires five times less floor space than competitor products currently available in the market. Built on the company’s FP3 400G chipset, the new core router can handle 100 gigabit per second links and build to 400G and Terabit jumps in the future. The 7950 scales from 6.4Tbps to 32Tbps with a density of up to 160 100G Ethernet ports. Up to six nodes can be linked in a multichassis configuration of up to 240Tbps.

The 7950 is available in three configurations. The entry-level variant is the XRS-16c, which features 6.4Tbps of capacity, 16 interface slots, 32 100G Ethernet ports, 80 40G Ethernet ports, or 320 10G Ethernet ports in a single rack. The mid-range offering is the XRS-20, which features 16Tbps of capacity, 20 interface slots, 80 100G, 200 40G, and 800 10G Ethernet ports in a single-rack. It can be configured as the XRS-40 by linking two chassis together, or it can be grouped in a mulltichassis configuration. Lastly, the high-end is the XRS-40 featuring 32Tbps of capacity, 40 interface slots, 160 100G, 400 40G and 1,600 10G Ethernet ports in two racks.

Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “The new digital economy demands constant and rapid evolution of the networks that manage and deliver data traffic, connecting the hand of consumers with their content and applications in the cloud. Our market entry is the data equivalent of revolutionizing telephone exchanges. It will enable our customers to optimize the delivery of Internet video, gaming, photo sharing and data-hungry business applications.”

Verizon says it chose this new core router because it’s consistent with other Alcatel-Lucent products already in its network will make it easier to integrate the 7950 than another vendor’s router might have been. Further, the carrier says that Alcatel-Lucent’s expertise in  cellular RANs (radio access networks) as well as the wired networks that backhaul traffic from the wireless systems, makes it an ideal one-stop vendor for multiple solutions.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby:RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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