Brocade Unleashes 15.36 Terabit Per Second Core Routing Platform

The promise of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) is massive scalability to help meet the growing demand for Internet bandwidth. It’s a promise that networking vendor Brocade (NASDAQ:BRCD) is aiming to deliver on with its new MLXe Core router, which can deliver up to 15.36 Terabits per second.

The MLXe core router promises increased density over Brocade’s previous generation MLX core router and can scale to 32 x 100 GbE ports. With the MLXe, Brocade is positioning against the Juniper T1600 and Cisco’s CRS-3 for a greater share of the core routing market.

“This is a native 100 GbE port and on top of this we can also get to terabit rates by combining up to 16 ports into a single trunk,” Ananda Rajagopal, senior director of service provider products at Brocade, told

The 100 GbE standard was ratified in June by the IEEE. The IEEE 802.3ba 100 GbE standard had been in development since at least July of 2007. Multiple vendors including Juniper, Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent have already announced their own respective 100 GbE offerings.

Rajagopal noted that Brocade has been working with its partners, including testing vendor Ixia, to ensure that 100 GbE modules are compliant with the new standards. He added that Brocade has been involved in interoperability plug fests to ensure compatibility.

From a technology perspective, Rajagopal said the ability to deliver the high-density MLXe platform involves some “secret sauce” from Brocade.

“The secret sauce of the 100 GbE module is Brocade’s own technology and the reason why we can scale so well is due to the highly distributed nature of the MLXe platform,” Rajagopal said. “We’ve taken the packet processing from what used to be a 40 gigabit per second full duplex pipeline, to a 100 gigabit per second full duplex pipeline using Brocade’s intellectual property. It’s not much in silicon, it’s something that has been developed in-house by Brocade.”

While the MLXe router is the new flagship core router for Brocade, the company said it isn’t leaving owners of the earlier MLX router behind in the race to 100 GbE; a new 100 GbE module will also be available for the MLX router as well. Brocade has been shipping the MLX platform since 2006. There is at least one key difference between the MLX and MLXe, namely scale.

“On the existing MLX platform you can scale up to a peak scalability of 16 ports of 100 GbE,” Rajagopal said. “As we looked at our technology assets and the needs of the market and growth in terms of video, we thought it was imperative to have a very high scale of 100 GbE. In a nutshell the MLXe can provide up to 32 ports of 100 GbE in a single platform.”

For those companies not ready to make the jump to 100 GbE yet, the MLXe also offers improved density for 10 GbE port as well. The MLXe can scale up to 256 ports of 10 GbE and 1,536 x 1 GbE ports per system.

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

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