Foundry adds to Ethernet wares

Foundry Networks Inc. this week launched a router and switch products aimed at the core and edge of carrier metropolitan area networks.

The NetIron Internet and Metro Router (IMR) 640 is targeted at the networks of service providers interested in providing MPLS VPN services over metropolitan arena networks based on Ethernet technology. Foundry also introduced its NetIron 2404, for aggregating Ethernet services and MPLS VPN traffic at the MAN edge. Foundry is also targeting the switch platforms at very large enterprises and university customers interested in building metro area backbones with carrier switching capabilities.

The metro core and edge boxes use the same base design as Foundry’s enterprise-focused BigIron MG8 and FastIron switch platforms, respectively. The devices include larger memory and routing table capabilities, as well as software for the deployment of MPLS-based Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPNs. Foundry says that carriers can install its Ethernet-based switches at a fraction of the cost of SONET-based MAN gear offered by Cisco Systems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc.

The NetIron IMR 640 has a total switching capacity of 1.28T bit/sec, and can support up to 32 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, or 320 Gigabit Ethernet links. The switch can support services such as Layer 2 VPNs, based on MPLS, where traffic from different customers is separated into virtual LAN (VLAN) groups and switched via MPLS labels. A single switch can support 2 million end-user customers, with support for 2 million MAC addresses per switch.

For the metro edge, Foundry is offering the NetIron 2404 switch, which includes 24 ports of 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet, with four Gigabit Ethernet uplink ports, supporting either copper or fiber. The switch is targeted for deployments of broadband Ethernet services inside multi-tenant units, such as residential or corporate office park facilities. The box includes software for supporting Foundry’s Metro Ring Protocol, which allows Ethernet gear to be deployed in a SONET-like ring topology. Redundant power supplies and Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol (VRRP) — which allows the box to failover to a backup switch without packet loss — are also included for high-availability.

With its two carrier Ethernet switching offerings, Foundry is targeting equipment from Juniper and Cisco based on SONET technology. Foundry says it can provide 10G bit/sec and 1G bit/sec ports at one-tenth the cost of competitive OC-192 and OC-12 ports on products such as Juniper’s T640 series routers and Cisco’s GSR 12000 and CRS-1 platforms.

The NetIron IMR 640 is available now for US$25,000 for the chassis. Modules range from $8,000 for the management module to US$35,000 for 4-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet, or 40-port Gigabit Ethernet blades. The NetIron 2404 is also available now starting at US$20,000.