Extreme Networks thinks new smaller switch is just right

MAY 3, 2007 By Stephen Hardy, editorial director -- One switch doesn't fit all applications. Extreme Networks Inc. believes it has applied this axiom to low-density metro applications with the BlackDiamond 12802R.

MAY 3, 2007 By Stephen Hardy, editorial director -- The advent of Carrier Ethernet has opened the door to more economical network infrastructures. However, as vendors have discovered in conventional Ethernet applications, one switch doesn't fit all applications. Extreme Networks Inc. (search for Extreme Networks) believes it has applied this lesson to low-density metro applications with its new carrier-grade Ethernet switch, the BlackDiamond 12802R.

According to the Peter Lunk, director of service provider marketing at Extreme Networks, the new switches' combination of features and comparatively low price tag -- $30,000 -- make it ideal for applications in which carriers want to provide full Carrier Ethernet service flexibility to a footprint of about 200 subscribers. The company already provides the BlackDiamond 12804R for larger applications.

The 3RU modular 12802R provides one slot for management and switching and two I/O slots. The box will support all existing modules from the BlackDiamond 12XXX family, including MSM, a 20-port Gigabit Ethernet module, and a two-port 10-Gigabit Ethernet module. It supports PBB (MAC-in-MAC) and can be upgraded to PBB-TE via a software change. The system also supports hierarchical quality of service (QoS) on a per-subscriber, per-application basis as well as peering between Ethernet providers to reach customers "out of footprint" with an Ethernet Network to Network Interface.

Lunk says the box will likely be used as a provider aggregation device between the customer premises and the core router. Support for PBB-TE enables carriers to use the platform in a mainstream Carrier Ethernet environment or one in which the service provider prefers a more deterministic network approach.

He compares the BlackDiamond 12802R favorably to the Alcatel-Lucent 7450 ESS-2 and the Cisco ME 6524. Extreme Networks' new platform is half the cost of the Alcatel-Lucent platform, while providing significantly more carrier-class attributes than the Cisco offering, Lunk asserts.

Lunk says the BlackDiamond 12802R is in beta, with first customer shipments expected this month. The $30,000 list price for a system including chassis, power supplies, fans and 20 ports of Gigabit Ethernet.

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