Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Alcatel-Lucent introduce new line of Internet core routers which promise improved speed and efficiency; company would compete with Cisco and Juniper in $4 billion market

Santa Clara-based Alcatel-Lucent announced that it was entering the Internet core router business with what it claims is a "breakthrough technology" that will improve the speed and efficiency of the routers used in delivery of Internet traffic. The new family of routers will be marketed as the Alcatel-Lucent 7950 XRS.
Alcatel-Lucent, which now controls the old Bell Labs, will be competing in this market with Cisco and Juniper.

“The new digital economy demands constant and rapid evolution of the networks that manage and deliver data traffic, connecting the hand of consumers with their content and applications in the cloud," said Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive of Alcatel-Lucent. "Our market entry is the data equivalent of revolutionizing telephone exchanges. It will enable our customers to optimize the delivery of Internet video, gaming, photo sharing and data-hungry business applications.”

The company said it had been working on the technology for over three years and that it says its new core routers will deliver "a five-fold improvement in capacity and performance as well as energy savings of 66 percent compared with today’s typical IP core routers."

The first of the new routers, the 7950 XRS-20, is in trial now and will begin shopping next quarter. The other two core routers, the larger 7950 XRS-40 and the smallest, the 7950 XRS-16c, will be available early next year.

Powering the new routers is the company's FP3 400G network processor, which the company developed in-house, and they say will quadruple network speeds.

“For over a decade we have invested in advanced silicon and software technology, most recently demonstrated by our breakthrough network processor chipset, FP3, announced in June 2011. Now we are applying this technology to the largest nodes in the Internet, core routers,” Basil Alwan, president of the company’s Internet Protocol division, said in the company's announcement. “Our 7950 XRS core router systems sit at the massive intersections of the Internet, where billions of individual messages are directed to the correct destinations every second. Our technology will provide more capacity and more flexible traffic management with reduced energy consumption, helping to ensure better performance from global broadband networks.”

The core router business is a $4 billion market, but entering it will present challenges as company's will be hesitant to invest in new systems without serious motivation – either because the timing is right, or they feel they will be left behind by new technology introduced.

"Most customers don't want to be bothered with a new system unless there's a meaningful benefit. But this is an inflection point, allowing our customers to stay ahead of demand," Alwan said yesterday.

If Alcatel-Lucent can crack the market, however, this new product line could provide consumers with an improved broadband experience beginning next year and beyond.