The new 7950 XRS (extensible routing system) now supports a maximum of 32Tbps of capacity, and 160 x 100 Gigabit Ethernet ports in a single system, which Alcatel-Lucent claims is “five times the density of today’s core routers.”
At the same time, the 7950 XRS will leverage the latest silicon and system design to slash power consumption by more than 66% compared to typical core routers on the market today, while maintaining the 19-inch rack footprint of existing telecoms gear.
“The timing of the 7950 XRS comes at a crucial inflection point of the industry,” Alcatel-Lucent APAC CTO, IP division, Raymond Zhang told CommsDay. “As recent as 2 years ago, service providers were looking at building 2Tbps for their backhauls. Now they are looking at 17Tbps, so we are talking about exponential levels of growth.”
To meet such capacity demand, the 7950 XRS backplane and optical interconnect are designed to handle slot capacities of 2Tbps, multi-chassis clustering that enables the system to scale up to 240Tbps in the future, as well as support 400GE and 1 Terabit interfaces as they become available.
In addition to the sheer amount of capacity that the 7950 XRS can bring to service provider core networks, it is also allows operators to grow due to its port density, a task that is becoming increasingly difficult given power and space constraints.
“Before operators were putting in systems with 100 x 10G ports. That has moved to 300-500 x 10G ports today,” Zhang said. “With that kind of growth, operators are rapidly running out of space and power to expand their networks.”
According Zhang, today’s equipment is becoming “obsolete” because it cannot provide the scale and density that is required to meet traffic demands. Without the step improvement in efficiency that the 7950 XRS brings to the market, operators will struggle to expand their services.
Another advantage to the 7950 XRS is that it is built on proven technology, Zhang added, pointing to the use of Alcatel-Lucent’s Service Router Operating System, which is already deployed in 450 service provider networks worldwide.
“This is software that we have developed and deployed over 10 years,” Zhang said. “Operators already know how to upgrade it, integrate it into their BSS/OSS, so there is very little learning curve when it comes to deploying the 7950 XRS.”
NBN: The 7950 XRS will be an ideal solution for environments such as Australia’s NBN, he added without confirming any actual commercial deal.
According to Zhang, the aim of the NBN to achieve ubiquitous access and to support increasingly bandwidth hungry applications like Ethernet backbones and mobile backhaul, will likely require high density core sites that will be ideally serve by the 7950 XRS.
In addition to projects like the NBN, Zhang also sees the 7950 XRS deployed for large capacity applications, such as metro core nodes, large IP gateway, and large peering gateways.
“Service providers face a serious problem as they tackle 100G, the next great inflection point in their routing, switching and optical networks. If they keep adding more of the same equipment to their networks, they will end up multiplying space and power requirements” said Infonetics Research, principal analyst & co-founder, Michael Howard. “Alcatel-Lucent’s new 7950 XRS core router platform appears to address the scaling of core networks without growing both soft and hard operating costs.”