Alcatel looks for edge and flexibility with updated routing switch platform

Responding to customer needs for flexibility and scalability, Paris-based Alcatel said release two of its routing switch platform is designed to facilitate the use of multi-service edge applications.

Release two of the 7670 RSP features in-service scalability up to 450Gbps, in addition to Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and support of low-speed multi-service data interfaces, Alcatel said.

“The first release of the product was positioned as a single-shelf, 50Gbps platform for multi-protocol core applications,” said Jim Guillet, assistant vice-president of switched data networks for Alcatel in Kanata, Ont. “In release two, we are increasing the capacity to 450Gbps in many incremental steps. It can grow with the business as opposed to one big lump sum.”

Guillet explained that release two offers service provider benefits, including CAPEX-optimized network growth which allows carriers to invest as required, reducing capital expenditures and operating costs by having high-density line interfaces and in-service scalability from 2.4Gbps at the edge to 450Gbps at the core.

In terms of investment protection, Alcatel said the 7670 enables MPLS mediation, label edge routing, label switch routing and ATM switching on one unified scalable platform, alleviating technology risks for service providers. Guillet said that profitable service delivery is enabled due to the introduction of low-speed multi-service interfaces, which enhance the flexibility of the 7670, allowing carriers to deliver a variety of revenue-generating services on one platform.

“What we have been told by our customers is to make sure the platform has the flexibility to go in any direction they so choose,” Guillet said. “It is not just about the ability to scale to meet future traffic requirements. It is also about making sure you have the technologies in place so that this platform can become usable in many different configurations. It is about making the purchase strategic. It is about something that can be built into (customers’) long-term plans as opposed to a tactical acquisition to satisfy short-term requirements.”

Guillet explains that Alcatel is allowing customers to not only build larger-capacity systems, but also pick and choose among the different shelf types – Edge Services Extender Shelf (ESE), Peripheral Shelf (50 Gig shelf), High Speed Peripheral Shelf – to build a system that is closely aligned with today’s actual traffic demands.

According to Jim Lawrence, program director of convergence strategies and network architectures for Stratecast Partners in Pittsburgh, release two of the 7670 RSP offers capabilities that carriers are very interested in.

“This is one of the first ATM products in a big gap of ATM development that now provides scalability of ATM beyond the point at which they were stuck – the 20 to 25Gbps range,” Lawrence said. “For a while, there was no investment in ATM. Now that has changed. Carriers are ready to move forward with more unified network architectures.”

Lawrence added that without ATM scaling, unified network architectures would not occur. He said that if there was not a clear path to MPLS in these products, Alcatel would not see the same willingness to embrace a wider unified infrastructure concept based on Layer 2 technologies.

“[The 7670] is one of the leading products in size and in scalability,” Lawrence said. “Alcatel is doing a pretty good job of surprising its competitors in getting there in a competitive time frame.”

The Alcatel 7670 RSP release two is currently being tested by some lead customers and is expected to ship Q1 2002. For more information, visit