Alcatel-Lucent raises the bar to 400G

David Krozier/Ovum
29 Jun 2011

The 400Gbps FP3 network processor unit (NPU), announced yesterday, is Alcatel-Lucent’s response to critics who say the 7450 Ethernet Service Switch and 7750 Service Router are old and tired.

By announcing this NPU now, Alcatel-Lucent tweaks competitors that are just beginning to incorporate 100G NPUs in their products.

While new FP3-enabled line cards for the 7450/7750 will not reach the market until mid-2012, Alcatel-Lucent has demonstrated the FP3 operating in a 2-port 100GE line card to Ovum. The FP3 will allow Alcatel-Lucent to reduce the cost, space, and power associated with 10GE, 40GE, and 100GE networking.

Perhaps more importantly, the FP3 supports platform evolution and customer investment protection as 100G networks evolve to 400G. Ovum expects the FP3 to be at the heart of upcoming networking platform announcements from Alcatel-Lucent.

The groundbreaking performance capabilities of the FP3 will force competitors to address 400G support in their product architecture and NPU plans. The device can support a clear-channel single 400G flow for use in a 400GE line card. It supports the service instances, buffer space, queues, traffic statistics, QoS capabilities, and packet filtering required for high-touch IP packet processing.

It implements active power management and operates with 50% less power per bit when compared to the 100G FP2. These capabilities put Alcatel-Lucent a step ahead of the competition.

The 7450/7750 platforms were introduced to the market in 2003. Initially they used the 10G FP1 network processor. In 2008, they were upgraded to the 100G FP2 network processor. With redundant 2Tbps switch-fabric common cards, an existing 7750 SR12 can support converged edge services with as many as 10 x 100GE ports.

The FP3 will power three new Integrated Media Modules (IMMs) for the 7450/7750 platforms: a 20-port 10GE IMM, a 6-port 40GE IMM, and a 2-port 100GE IMM. When deployed with new switch-fabric cards, the new FP3-powered IMMs will effectively double the capacity of new and deployed platforms.

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