Alcatel-Lucent Aims at Core Routing

In recent years, the core routing market has been dominated by Cisco and Juniper. It’s a market that now will see increased competition as Alcatel-Lucent today unveiled the 7950 XRS router, boasting the highest 100 gigabit port density of any router currently in the market.

7950 XRS compete against T4000 and CRS-3

The 7950 XRS marks Alcatel-Lucent’s debut in the core router market and will compete against the Juniper T4000 and the Cisco CRS-3.

The new top end 7950 XRS-40 is a two chassis system that provides 160 ports of 100 GbE, delivering up to 32 terabits per second (Tbps) of routing. The 7950 XRS-20 is a single chassis system providing 16 Tbps of routing with 80 ports of 100 GbE. Alcatel-Lucent is powering the platform with the 400 Gbps FP3 silicon that was announced in June of 2011. The FP3 has 288 array cores and has previously been deployed in the 7750 Service Router that is targeted for edge of network deployments. With the FP3 silicon underpinning, the 7950 XRS system has the ability to scale.

“In the first pass we’re offering four ports of 100G per slot, even though each slot is architected to handle one terabit,” Manish Gulyani, vice president, Networks Product Marketing, told Enterprise Networking Planet. “So you could scale to 40 terabits on the XRS and you can connect six systems together to get a 240 terabit platform.”

Juniper’s scaling multiple chassis

Scaling with multiple chassis is something that Juniper Networks has been doing for years as well with the Juniper TX Matrix Platform that combines multiple T-series routers. In response to the Alcatel-Lucent announcement, Juniper today announced an expansion to that platform enabling four T4000 routers to be combined with a future capacity expandable as high as 64 terabits per second.

With the Alcatel-Lucent XRS, Gulyani noted that the same SR OS operating system that is used throughout the Alcatel-Lucent service provider portfolio will be used.

“We’ve also done end to end integration across the optics and IP portfolios so people can manage both of their platforms together,” Gulyani said.

Going head to head with Juniper and Cisco

From a competitive timing perspective, Gulyani noted that service providers are now in the process of moving away from one generation of core routers to the next. Juniper T1600 users are considering migrations to the Juniper T4000 as are Cisco CRS-1 users to the CRS-3. That timing is a potential opportunity for Alcatel-Lucent.

“When people see that we have a 5x density advantage with one third the power usage, we believe there is a tremendous opportunity in front of us,” Gulyani said. “We believe this will open up a $4 billion core router market opportunity for us in a big way.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Latest Articles

Follow Us On Social Media

Explore More