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Alcatel jumps into core router market, boasts performance gains

Alcatel-Lucent already competes with Cisco and Juniper on edge routers, but is now moving into so-called core routers.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Alcatel-Lucent launched a series of Internet core routers designed for service providers and aimed directly at Cisco and Juniper.

The company already competes with Cisco and Juniper on edge routers, but is now moving into so-called core routers. Alcatel-Lucent's plan is to use its edge routing footprint---No. 2 behind Cisco---to move further up the Internet stack.

And Alcatel-isn't fooling around. The 7950 XRS (Extensible Routing System) is built on the company’s FP3 400G chipset and offers a performance jump designed to handle more cloud and video traffic. The company is pitching its new routers as future proof efforts that can handle 100 gigabit per second links and build to 400G and Terabit jumps in the future.

"For the service provider, these routers provide a massive boost in capacity and energy efficiency," said Lindsay Newell, vice president of marketing for Alcatel-Lucent. "The core is a natural extension for us, but our biggest barrier is incumbency." Newell added that there's a natural upgrade cycle in carriers as they move from 10GB networks to 100GB. "Video and the cloud are demanding more flexibility," he said.

The family of routers will be generally available in the third quarter and rolling out through the first half of 2013.

For instance, the 7950 XRS-40 supports 32 terabits per second capacity and has 160 100Gigabit Ethernet ports in a system. That's five times denser than today’s core routers. As a result, the XRS-40 cuts power consumption by 66 percent.

If successful with its launch, Alcatel-Lucent could find a nice revenue stream. Core routers are used in regional and IP backbone networks. Verizon, NTT and BT were quoted providers supporting the new routers.

Among the key points:

  • The 7950 XRS has transponder integration at 10G, 40G and 100G speeds.
  • The 7950 XRS-20 is a 16TB/s core router that delivers 80 100Gigabit Ethernet interfaces in one rack. The 7950 XRS-40 is in several trials and will be available in the third quarter.
  • The routers have a common management platform with the company’s Service Aware Manager software.
  • An Optical Extension Shelf capability that integrates Alcatel-Lucent's 1830 Photonic Service Switch.

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