Compass Networks unveils SDN Forwarding Platform

Router company Compass Networks (the recently renamed Compass-EOS) has used Mobile World Congress this week to unveil what it considers a new class of software-defined network (SDN) friendly system for transporting network flows. The SDNFP800 SDN Forwarding Platform is the first in what is likely a series of systems that leverage's the company's icPhotonics technology to transport flows under SDN control more efficiently and economically than conventional routers.

Router company Compass Networks (the recently renamed Compass-EOS) has used Mobile World Congress this week to unveil what it considers a new class of software-defined network (SDN) friendly system for transporting network flows. The SDNFP800 SDN Forwarding Platform is the first in what is likely a series of systems that leverage's the company's icPhotonics technology to transport flows under SDN control more efficiently and economically than conventional routers.

According to Compass Networks Chairman and CEO Matt Bross, an SDN forwarding platform should have five attributes:

  1. the ability to cope with massive bandwidth via a single fabric
  2. a small footprint
  3. low power
  4. be reliable and resilient
  5. and be programmable.

The SDNFP800 meets all five criteria thanks to a combination of the use of icPhotonics as well as Compass Networks' AnyFLOW architecture (see "Compass-EOS unveils SDN Forwarding Plane"). The icPhotonics approach leverages silicon photonics to provide chip-to-chip interconnect (see "Compass-EOS names NTT Communications as first router customer"). The technology enables extremely fast, low-cost, and low input and output from the SDNFP800's switching fabric. A fabric upgrade slated for next year will raise the fabrics capacity from its current 1.34 Tbps to 10 Tbps; Bross said the company envisions significantly higher speed speeds in the future.

The AnyFLOW architecture supports what Bross described as a "hybrid approach" that enables the SDNFP800 to operate via its own protocol stacks or under SDN control for specific flows, as well as communicate with other network elements in a traditional fashion. At Mobile World Congress, Compass Networks has partnered with Sonus Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: SONS) to demonstrate operation of the SDN forwarding platform under the control of the OpenFlow-based Network as a Service (NaaS) IQ Platform. The demonstration shows how the two platforms can enable virtualization of HD video streams. In a congested network scenario, the NaaS IQ Platform directs the SDNFP800 to move excess traffic onto a secondary path and thus regain high video quality.

The SDNFP800 is generally available. Bross said that the system is under evaluation by multiple customers.

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