BRAS for sagging networks

Laurel Networks Inc. this week unveiled software for its edge router that enables users to deploy the device as a broadband service delivery system.

The company’s Broadband Remote Access Server (BRAS) software for its ST200 router will pit Laurel against entrenched broadband aggregation router vendors such as Redback Networks Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc., which acquired Redback competitor Unisphere Networks Inc. a year ago. Though Laurel is a late entrant to this market, analysts say there is demand for a high-performance BRAS system such as the one Laurel is proposing.

“They already had all the ports; they already had all of the hardware,” says Dave Passmore of the Burton Group. “Most of the BRAS platforms that are out there, like the initial Redback boxes, were really based on PC chassis. They don’t scale to the kinds of bandwidth requirements in places like Korea.”

The BRAS software features a capability Laurel calls Service Separation and Blending (SSB). SSB delivers high bandwidth per subscriber, advanced quality-of-service (QoS) controls and integrated routing and switching required for multimedia broadband service.

SSB blends packets from multiple services downstream over a single broadband customer connection, while switching and routing separate upstream traffic to different content or service providers, Laurel says. It does this through per-service queuing and shaping, and “intelligent” separation of packet streams across multiple content networks, the company claims.

The ST200 supports over 100,000 broadband sessions with classification, filtering, IP VPNs, multicast and QoS features enabled, Laurel says. The router supports over 500 multicast channels, the vendor says.

Integrated ST200 per-subscriber bandwidth control eliminates the need for external bandwidth managers, such as ATM switches, Laurel claims; and the ST200 is the first broadband remote access server with OC-48 and OC-192 uplinks, the company boasts.

The ST200 BRAS software is in trials now with multiple service providers and will be generally available in the third quarter, Laurel says.