Alcatel-Lucent unveils 7950 XRS core routers

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext and NYSE: ALU) has taken the wraps off its entry in the large-scale core router market. The 7950 XRS (Extensible Routing System) family, based on the company’s highly touted FP3 400-Gbps chipset, offers 32-Tbps capacity and 160 ports of 100-Gigabit Ethernet in the top of the line incarnation, the 7950 XRS-40.

Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext and NYSE: ALU) has taken the wraps off its entry in the large-scale core router market. The 7950 XRS (Extensible Routing System) family, based on the company’s highly touted FP3 400-Gbps chipset, offers 32-Tbps capacity and 160 ports of 100-Gigabit Ethernet in the top of the line incarnation, the 7950 XRS-40.

The 7950 XRS family has three members:

  1. The 7950 XRS-40, which in addition to the capacity figures mentioned above is designed to accommodate up to 2 terabits per slot. It can be upgraded to multi-chassis configurations to ensure continued growth as needed. It will be available in the first half of 2013.
  2. The 7950 XRS-20 is a 16-Tbps core router with support for eighty 100 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces in a single rack, which Alcatel-Lucent asserts is 5X more than the current norm. It can be upgraded to a 7950 XRS-40 and/or multi-chassis configuration, and also will accommodate up to 2 terabits per slot. It will be available in the third quarter of 2012 and is currently in several trials.
  3. The 7950 XRS-16c is a 6.4-Tbps core router, aimed at smaller points of presence (POPs)/nodes requiring maximum agility. It sports up to thirty-two 100 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces and is designed to accommodate 1 terabit per slot. It will be available in the first half of 2013.

In addition to high capacity, the 7950 XRS line is designed to offer cost-effective operation. The platforms offer power savings of more than 66 percent versus typical core routers, the company asserts. The company is positioning the family at both IP backbone networks as well as regional and metro core networks.

The 7950 XRS line also plays into Alcatel-Lucent’s IP/optical convergence strategy via the following features:

  • support for transponder integration into the 7950 XRS at 10G, 40G, and 100G speeds
  • efficient grooming of traffic from the IP layer into the optical transport network
  • common management with the 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM) platform
  • an Optical Extension Shelf capability that integrates the 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) with the 7950 XRS.

Alcatel-Lucent emphasizes that the new routers are built to scale. The 7950 XRS backplane and optical interconnect are designed to handle slot capacities of 2 Tbps, multi-chassis clustering that enables the system to scale up to 240 Tbps in the future, as well as support 400 Gigabit Ethernet and 1-Tbps interfaces as they become available.

The 7950 XRS routers will leverage Alcatel-Lucent’s existing Service Router Operating System (SR OS).

The company rounded up several endorsements for the 750 XRS launch.

“Verizon is experiencing tremendous growth in metro Ethernet services. Platforms such as the Alcatel-Lucent 7950 XRS will help us efficiently scale to support higher speeds and new capabilities while offering efficiency and flexibility,” said Ihab Tarazi, vice president of global IP and transport planning and technology, Verizon. “We applaud Alcatel-Lucent for its bold approach to router value and performance.”

“The success of our broadband services worldwide is resulting in rapid traffic growth in our IP network. As we carry more traffic, we have to improve the power and space efficiency of our network infrastructure” said Fumio Ito, vice president, network services technology of NTT Communications. “We are pleased to see innovation from Alcatel-Lucent that brings enhancements to the IP network in terms that might be able to address our operational challenges and costs.”

“BT is constantly improving our network to deliver new and better broadband services to our consumer and business customers” added Karl Penaluna, president, BT Global Networks and Systems. “We’ve been using Alcatel-Lucent’s 7750 Service Router for many years as part of the rollout of the 21CN program across the UK. As we deal with increasing traffic volumes and deliver the growth in cloud services from our data centers, we’ll need platforms for our national and metro core networks that scale to 100-Gigabit links and beyond. We’re also constantly seeking to reduce our physical footprint and power per bit, so we’re very encouraged to see Alcatel-Lucent meeting these challenges with the 7950 XRS.”

“Service providers face a serious problem as they tackle 100G, the next great inflection point in their routing, switching and optical networks. If they keep adding more of the same equipment to their networks, they will end up multiplying space and power requirements” said Michael Howard, principal analyst and co-founder, Infonetics Research. “Alcatel-Lucent’s new 7950 XRS core router platform appears to address the scaling of core networks without growing both soft and hard operating costs. We expect that service providers will also see direct benefits of the versatility of the 7950 XRS in core/metro/datacenter interconnect networks and include it in their decision process mix as they evaluate how to scale their 100G infrastructure.”

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