Foundry Networks introduces second generation platform for NetIron Internet router

March 12, 2001
Mar. 12, 2001--Foundry Networks, Inc., a performance and total solutions provider for end-to-end switching and routing, announced a second generation platform for the NetIron Internet router product family.

Foundry Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq:FDRY), a performance and total solutions provider for end-to-end switching and routing, announced a second generation platform for the NetIron Internet router product family described as the Network Processor Architecture (NPA) and the immediate availability of Foundry's first NPA-based product; a 2-port OC-48c/STM-16 (2.488 Gbps) Packet Over SONET (POS) module. Purpose built for Internet data and packet flow handling, the modules are built using the NPA architecture to expand the performance, reliability, and control offered by Foundry's current NetIron interfaces by supplying 5Gbps of additional distributed processing capacity, expansive routing information storage, and field upgradeable functionality at the port level.

Foundry also announced a comprehensive, multi-phased roadmap for complete MPLS implementation using the power and capacity offered by the Network Processing Architecture (NPA) modules. Through the flexibility offered by the NPA modules, Foundry's MPLS strategy will be available through software and firmware updates to the module, providing a seamless migration path as MPLS developments and advancements occur within the industry. Foundry will start offering MPLS services for Traffic Engineering within the next 60-days.

Finally, Foundry announced the immediate availability of new 2-port and 4-port OC-3c (155 Mbps) ATM modules, available with either multi-mode and single-mode optics. These new modules now enable Foundry's NetIron Internet router product family to provide an even greater range of interface options for deployment in an expanding variety of networking configurations including LAN edge connectivity, expanded Points of Presence (POP) and aggregation services, and direct attachment to ATM networks.

These new product and features improve performance, security, bandwidth management, and capacity across all platforms in Foundry's NetIron Internet router product family.

Using a combination of off-the-shelf high-speed processors, wire-speed programmable look-up engines, the Foundry IronCore Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) intelligence, and state of the art ultrahigh performance Ternary Content Addressable Memory (TCAM), Foundry's NPA module allows service providers to scale their operations by adding wire-speed high-touch value added services such as full IP accounting, rate limiting, Committed Access Rate (CAR) bandwidth control, wire-speed Access Control List (ACL) and extended ACL security, as well as deliver a platform for complete Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). The flexibility offered by programmable look-up engines, programming and high-speed processors at the interface level enable Foundry's NPA modules to be field upgradeable to accommodate the evolution of new networking standards as well as the introduction of new and disruptive networking technologies. The NPA architecture provides a new level of functional flexibility not typically available.

Foundry will continue to develop NPA products for the NetIron Internet router and offer expanded capabilities and services to grant network administrators the ability to easily deploy increased high-touch operations in order to more effectively and efficiently manage and control the flow of networking traffic.

Foundry's new 2-port and 4-port OC-3c (155 Mbps) ATM interfaces introduces new hardware and software functionality to the NetIron Internet router product family and provides increased flexibility and interface capacity. New capabilities include IP routing over ATM, traffic shaping as per ATM Traffic Management 4.0, and support for Variable Bit Rate (VBR) and Constant Bit Rate (CBR) services. The ATM, Gigabit Ethernet, and Packet Over SONET (POS) networks can be joined together in one compact high-performance Internet routing platform.

Network administrators can use ATM virtual circuits to control bandwidth allocation on busy ATM backbone networks. The connection oriented underpinnings give the administrator the traffic engineering tools needed to manage bandwidth utilization and QoS. Using Foundry's ATM modules, the service provider can discretely assign bandwidth characteristics, such as Peak Cell Rate (PCR), Sustained Cell Rate (SCR), and Maximum Burst Size (MBS) for up to 256 distinct rate-limiting settings.

Foundry also announced a comprehensive roadmap for the deployment of Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) for the NetIron Internet router product family. Foundry's MPLS implementation delivers wire-speed performance while retaining the flexibility of software upgrades as MPLS undergoes further refinements.

Using the NPA modules, MPLS support is further divided into two functional categories -- the ability to push/pop/swap MPLS labels -- full Label Switch Router (LSR) capability; and the ability to act as an IP to LSP gateway element -- Label Edge Router (LER) capability. With MPLS from Foundry, service providers will be able to offer end-to-end bandwidth control, traffic engineering, and Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for both Layer 2 and Layer 3 based environments.

Phase I -- MPLS/RSVP with Traffic Engineering Extensions (RSVP-TE):

The first release functionality of the LER and LSR products will focus on MPLS for Traffic Engineering, RSVP-TE, for OSPF with dynamic and static Label Switched Path (LSP) routes. The MPLS for Traffic Engineering allows service providers to combat the hyper-aggregation problem caused by traditional routing protocols selection of the shortest path through a network, even through other paths exists. When all traffic flows across the shortest path, those paths often become over utilized. Historically, the only solution has been to `throw more bandwidth' at the problem by purchasing higher speed links. The MPLS reduces the cost of purchasing more bandwidth for overused links. It decreases the hyper-aggregation administration overhead -- or the manual intervention and tweaking of routing control mechanisms -- and enables the network administrator to redirect the flow of traffic back onto the under-utilized existing links to balance the traffic flow needs. Foundry also plans on supporting user-defined constraint based routing, including path selection based on Constrained Shortest Path First (CSPF) algorithms. This phase will also include RSVP signaling for LSPs, RSVP v.1 Functional Specifications (RFC 2205), RSVP v.1 Messaging Processing Rules (RFC 2209), and RSVP-TE supporting extensions to RFP2205. Also available in Phase I will be the support for strict and loose routes, secondary LSPs, hot/standby LSPs, and fast reroute.

Phase II -- Extending Global Ethernet to Include Draft-Martini, or Ethernet over MPLS:

To expand the reach of Global Ethernet, Foundry has committed to support draft-Martini, or Ethernet over MPLS. Service providers could then use labels and LSPs to set bandwidth constraints, preferred paths, and priorities for VPNs using the VLAN information naturally carried in Ethernet and transport this traffic throughout the MPLS environment. The Application Service Providers (ASPs), Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Building Local Exchange Carriers (BLECs), and other organizations targeting the Virtual Private Networking, Metropolitan Area Networking (MAN), or Wide Area Networking (WAN) service space could use this implementation for seamless switched connectivity.

Phases III & IV -- Label Distribution Protocol (RFC 3036) and Layer 3 VPNs -- BGP/MPLS VPNs (RFC 2547):

The addition of Label Distribution Protocol (LDP) will set the foundation for Foundry to offer MPLS-based Layer 3 VPNs, which will reduce customer networking complexity and costs while deploying VPN services. Rather than establishing and managing discrete point-to-point circuits between each router participating in the VPN, businesses will only need to provide one connection from their `customer edge' router to the service provider `peer edge' router. The peer edge router adds the MPLS labels to the traffic flow and routes it through the MPLS core to the peer edge router closest to the destination. The MPLS labels define the VPN, networking complexity is reduced, and the service provider can offer a complete set of services including QoS, managed Internet, Intranet, extranet, Voice over IP (VoIP) integration, and web hosting without all the complications previously associated with an overlay network.

The 2-port OC-48c/STM-16 NPA modules are available for immediate delivery and support short reach (up to 15Km) and intermediate reach (up to 40Km) distances. The pricing for the N2P2488-SR (short reach) is $64,995 US List/$77,995 International List (USD). Pricing for the N2P2488-IR (intermediate reach) is $74,995 US List/$89,995 International List (USD). The pricing for the ATM modules start at $14,995 US List/$17,995 International List (USD) and are also available for immediate delivery. Phase I of the MPLS roadmap is available in 60 days.

About Foundry Networks:

Foundry Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq:FDRY) is a performance and total solutions provider for 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