Foundry announces fast, low cost gear for MANs

Foundry announces fast, low cost gear for MANs

Foundry, at Supercomm this week, unveiled new carrier network edge and core routers aimed at undercutting Cisco and Juniper on price, while offering more speed and flexibility for metro Ethernet deployments than the two market-leading competitors.

The NetIron XMR series of routers come in three sizes - four, eight, and 16 slots - and use a new routing fabric technology, which Foundry says can provide greater speed and reliability for carriers. Foundry is also touting the gear as a lower cost alternative to Cisco and Juniper for Ethernet-based metropolitan-area network (MAN)-routing deployments.

The XMR 16000 is targeted as a core MAN backbone device, and comes with sixteen slots, which are half the size of standard modular switch slots. Foundry says this allows a carrier to mix such speeds and media, such as copper and fiber Gigabit Ethernet, and fiber-only 10G - in the space that would normally be restricted on only one kind of port type.

The eight-port XMR 8000 includes eight half-sized blade slots, and is targeted as a MAN aggregation layer device. The four-slot XMR 4000 is meant for the MAN edge, connecting fiber or copper Ethernet links in customer premises.

A key evolution for the products is a change in the design of the NetIron XMR series' switching fabric, according to Ahmed Abdelhalim, service provider product line manager for Foundry.

"It's a pull design vs. a traditional push design," he says. In most switch fabrics, blades in the chassis slots drive the traffic through the backplane, or switch fabric, which acts as a passive, very high-bandwidth conduit. In this old model, Abdelhalim says, if the fabric is overloaded with traffic, "then packets might be dropped drop as needed."

But with the pull design, all ingress and egress traffic on the modules is controlled by the fabric. QoS logic built into the switch's network processors allow the fabric to throttle down throughput if oversubscribed and avoid packet loss, Abdelhalim adds.

The total capacity of the NetIron XMR 16000 is 1.54T bit/sec, with support for 952 million packets per second and up to 192 10G Ethernet ports in a box.

Each XMR router includes redundant switch fabrics, management modules, cooling fan units and power supplies. All of the devices support MPLS and VPLS, and Layer 2 and Layer 3 MPLS/VPLS VPNs - technology for segmenting and securing customer traffic streams.

At US$6,200 to US$8,700 per 10G Ethernet port, Foundry says carriers can install 10G ports with the XMR series for one twentieth the cost of competitive carrier core routers such as Cisco's GSR 12000 and Juniper's T640. (Cisco's 7600 series routers and Catalyst 65000 switches have 10G Ethernet ports available that are priced in the same range Foundry's 10G per-port pricing).

The XMR series will be available this quarter.

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