Alcatel-Lucent Unleashes Four-Terabit Switch

New optical switch aimed at improving scalability as core traffic grows.

 By Sean Michael Kerner
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As demand for bandwidth continues to grow, so too do the demands on carrier backbones to deliver. One solution to the problem is providing hardware platforms that have more capacity, which is what Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is doing with its new 1870 Transport Tera Switch (TTS) optical core switching platform.

The 1870 TTS provides four terabits per second of switching capacity with its initial release, with the potential to eventually scale as high as 8Tb per second.

The new release is part of Alcatel-Lucent's plan, first laid out in September 2009, to help converge the optical transport and IP layers of modern carrier networks.

"The 1870 TTS adds performance based on the capacity of the 4Tb switching platform, which helps to manage all the bandwidth that comes on a fiber that is fully loaded," Alberto Valsecchi, vice president of marketing in Alcatel-Lucent's Optics unit, told InternetNews.com. "It also brings the universal switching capability to manage any type of traffic from TDM to packet to OTN , providing a very high level of flexibility to the system."

Valsecchi added that the key innovations in the 1870 TTS are about capacity, intelligence and scalability. Sitting at the heart of the 1870 TTS innovation is a new proprietary chip that does the platform's heavy lifting.

The 1870 TTS provides four terabits per second of switching capacity, and will eventually scale as high as 8TB

"The TTS is based on in-house developed silicon," Valsecchi said. "The chip is universal, which means it can switch ... any mix of traffic, providing a greater value to service providers, especially considering today most backbones are still transporting a variety of traffic flows and applications."

As compared to the current generation of Alcatel-Lucent's optical switching platforms, Valsecchi said that the new silicon in the TTS improved performance by a factor of eight.

Alcatel-Lucent -- and the 1870 TTS in particular -- is also supporting the next generation ODUflex standard, which provides a flexible version of the optical data units (ODU) that are the primary logical containers within the optical transport infrastructure. With ODUflex, the aim is to help improve the utilization of the network by optimizing traffic delivery.

"We have an extensive customer base, but the 1870 TTS will help to protect and extend our share," Valsecchi added. "The muti-terabit switch is becoming a clear need in the market."

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

This article was originally published on Jan 23, 2010
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