Foundry Networks unveils features addressing scalable metro networks for global Ethernet

Sept. 13, 2001--Foundry Networks, Inc. announced a new switching software release that enables metro service providers to build highly scalable and reliable Layer 2 metro networks.

Foundry Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq:FDRY), a performance and total solutions provider of end-to-end switching and routing, announced a new IronWare switching software release that powers the BigIron and FastIron switches to enable metro service providers to build highly scalable and reliable Layer 2 metro networks based on Foundry's Global Ethernet solutions.

The new IronWare Release 7.5 includes a complete package of critical Layer 2 features, including the IEEE standard 802.1w which defines a Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP) for fast convergence in case of link, port or switch failures, the IEEE Standard 802.1s based on Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) per VLAN group which allows Metro service providers to organize their VLANs into 2 to 16 VLAN groups and run one STP instance per group providing superior STP and VLAN scalability, and Foundry's new breakthrough SuperSpan feature allows metro service providers to dramatically improve Layer 2 metro network scalability and availability by organizing the Metro backbone into small, fast converging, easy to manage, standards-based STP domains interconnected with redundant high speed links.

Combined with Foundry's existing Layer 2 features such as Super VLAN Aggregation, Link Aggregation based on IEEE 802.3ad standard and Layer 2 Packet Over SONET (POS), these new features enable metro service providers to build high performance, highly flexible and scalable Layer 2 metro backbone to provide services such as VLAN-based Transparent LAN Services (TLS) and virtual private network services.

While Foundry's products currently support Rapid STP based on IEEE's 802.1w Draft Standard version 3, the new IronWare Release 7.5 will support ratified IEEE 802.1w Standard. With the 802.1w implementation, Foundry switches will instantly recognize a link failure and use a pre-calculated alternate path, dramatically improving the availability of the metro networks.

The new IronWare Release 7.5 allows service providers to divide their VLANs in a Metro network into 2 to 16 groups and configure one Rapid Spanning Tree instance for each group. This feature enables metro service providers to run just 2 to 16 Rapid STP instances while serving up to 4,096 VLANs, dramatically reducing STP complexity and improving backbone scalability. Since each Rapid STP instance chooses different links to use, this feature distributes the load across all the available links thus utilizing the dark fiber resources in a metro network efficiently.

SuperSpan is a unique innovation from Foundry that allows metro service providers to build very large Layer 2 metro Ethernet networks while simplifying manageability and improving network availability. With SuperSpan, metro service providers can now organize the metro Ethernet network into small, fast converging, easy to manage and standard-based Spanning Tree Protocol domains. SuperSpan interconnects the domains while isolating the effects of link state changes. Foundry's SuperSpan allows each STP domain to have any network topology such as ring, star or mesh, while localizing and containing any failures within each domain. This allows rapid convergence within each STP domain while the other STP domains in the metro network remain unaffected.

Foundry's Super VLAN Aggregation capability allows metro service providers to deliver Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Transparent LAN services to 4,096 customers within a metropolitan area. The Super VLAN Aggregation stacks service provider VLAN tags on top of customer VLAN tags allowing each customer to have up to 4,096 unique VLANs. The Super VLAN Aggregation provides strict security between customer virtual networks while allowing metro service providers to identify traffic from each customer and provide differentiated services.

Foundry's Layer 2 Packet Over SONET (POS) allows service providers and communication carriers to leverage their existing SONET investment along with new Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure to provide secure metro network services such as VLAN-based Transparent LAN Services and VPNs. Foundry's Layer 2 POS transports native Ethernet frames over a SONET infrastructure and seamlessly connects geographically dispersed customer locations. This allows service providers and carriers to build metro and regional networks with a combination of Ethernet and SONET equipment, protecting their investments in existing SONET infrastructure.

Using Foundry's IEEE 802.3ad based Link Aggregation feature, metro service providers can easily scale bandwidth by aggregating up to eight Gigabit Ethernet links between any two Ethernet switches while taking advantage of sub-second failover in case of any individual link failure. Foundry's Link Aggregation feature includes support for cross-module trunk groups that protects against line card failures while providing bandwidth scalability.

Foundry's Global Ethernet provides the most complete solution set for metro service providers. Global Ethernet Metro Solutions includes a wide range of product offerings, network interfaces, and network management tools at industry leading price/performance. Foundry's Global Ethernet Metro Solutions blend the simplicity of Ethernet, reliability of SONET and efficiency of Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technologies to provide a best-of-breed architecture that enables service providers and carriers to deploy next-generation metro services.

Foundry's IronWare Release 7.5 software will be available for FastIron and BigIron Layer 2/3 switches in October 2001 at no cost to Foundry customers with an existing support contract.

About Foundry Networks:

Foundry Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq:FDRY) is a solutions provider of end-to-end switching and routing including Internet routers, Layer 2/3 LAN switches, and Layer 4-7 Internet traffic and content delivery switches. For more information, visit

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