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Switching lines play up Metro Ether

Posted: 03 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:loring wirbel? cisco systems? extreme networks? Ethernet switching? ONS 15xxx?

Cisco Systems Inc. and Extreme Networks Inc. are expanding their metro Ethernet switching strategies to meet carriers' need for resiliency. Cisco is offering a new multiservice provisioning platform in its popular ONS 15xxx switching line and a new 6500 switch for access applications. Extreme is updating its black diamond Gigabit Ethernet switch family with a system that offers enhanced QoS, MAC-in-MAC tagging and internal Ethernet cross-connection.

Cisco's central theme is the growing presence of optical fiber in incumbent carrier networks, making the prospect of supporting Sonet and resilient packet ring (RPR) more critical than DSL aggregation in many networks. The ONS15310 Metro Access multiservice provisioning platform brings together in one chassis RPR-based Ethernet and advanced Sonet encapsulation services such as Generic Framing Procedure and virtual concatenation.

Mihir Maniar, senior product manager in Cisco's optical-products group, said the real flexibility in the 15310-MA comes from its 6U configuration, where two chassis systems can be placed side by side in a carrier rack. Cisco offers SFP-based optical interfaces in speeds ranging from 155Mbps to 2.4Gbps, and ports aggregate traffic down to DS-1 granularity. Protection options include unprotected, unidirectional path-switched ring and 1+1 automatic protection switching.

On the access side, the ME6500 carrier-Ethernet switches are optimized for voice, VPN and other advanced features through support of multicasting, IPv6 and multiprotocol label switching. Port configurations are optimized for fiber-to-the-curb or -node architectures, with two models offering different combinations of GbE downlink and uplink ports.

The ME 6500 switches are priced starting at $24,000, while basic ONS 15310-MA configuration begins at $18,000.

At Extreme, the Black Diamond family is aimed at a more fault-resilient application base with the new 12804 switch. Each I/O blade can be configured for dual 10GbE or 20GbE ports, but senior product manager Peter Lunk said the real difference is not speeds and feeds, but hierarchical QoS and advanced interconnect for carrier peering.

Extreme's ASIC-based bandwidth-management controllers allow tens of thousands of subscribers to be assigned to each I/O blade in the switch, with as many as eight QoS levels assigned to each subscriber. This allows one switch to handle both business and residential aggregation, with different bandwidth profiles assigned for voice, data and video services.

The latest Black Diamond switch uses a patented internal Ethernet cross-connect to link services to content providers, using assigned QoS for each subscriber. The MAC-in-MAC capability is a new media-access control method for carriers that's being standardized in IEEE's 802.3ah working group. A service provider MAC address is assigned to each Ethernet frame, allowing a network to scale to millions of virtual LANs.

The switch offers hardware resiliency in redundant switches, power supplies, fans and hardware management, and software resiliency through a modular operating system, hitless switching, process monitoring and denial-of-service protection.

The Black Diamond 12804, with a list price starting at $60,000, is shipping at the same time as the ExtremeXOS 11.4 software, which supports hierarchical QoS, MAC-in-MAC, Ethernet ping and traceroute, and the Clear-Flow management environment. Clear-Flow, which monitors service-level agreements as well as network conditions, offers the first XML interface for management services.

- Loring Wirbel
EE Times




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