Alcatel-Lucent Expands 40 Gigabit Networking Options

Alcatel-Lucent is debuting a 40 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) module for the OmniSwitch 6900 enterprise switch, marking the first time that the company has used the technology in its enterprise portfolio. The OmniSwitch 6900 is a top-of-rack switch that can have up to 64 ports of 10 GbE. The OmniSwitch platform can be fielded as part of a mesh deployment enabling scaling across switch platforms. Alcatel-Lucent updated their switching mesh infrastructure in April of this year as part of their overall strategy for application fluency.

Jean-Luc Ronarch, director of Networks Product Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, explained to there are three 40 GbE ports per module and there can be up to two modules in a single OmniSwitch 6900-X40 platform.

“Our OS6900 design is modular,” Ronarch said. “On the OS6900-X40, we have 2 slots with 120G (240G in Cisco math) capacity in each. The modules can be used to accommodate 12x10GbE cards or 3x40GbE card or a hybrid 4x10GbE and 2x40GbE module.”

Today, 40 GbE technology is used to connect switches. That said, Ronarch noted there is nothing to prevent someone from connecting to other 40 GbE devices as the Alcatel-Lucent implementation is 100 percent standards-based.

“The next step is a 40GbE card in our OmniSwitch 10K chassis,” Ronarch said. “Of course, we are also looking at 40GbE as a connectivity speed for servers.”

The OmniSwitch 10K is Alcatel-Lucent’s core switching product. Alcatel-Lucent is not the only vendor jumping on the 40 GbE bandwagon. Extreme Networks has a 40 Gbps switching platform called the BlackDiamond X8. IBM’s Blade Network Technologies division also has a 40 Gigabit solution with the RackSwitch G8264.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

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