Lucent spices up Cajun line

Lucent Technologies Inc. has filled a high-end void in its Cajun switch family with the introduction of the Cajun P880 Routing Switch.

Martha Young, president of consultancy Cutting Edge Research in Boulder, Colo., said the P880’s strengths are its high port density and large backplane.

The 17-slot P880 supports up to 768 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports, up to 384 fast Ethernet fibre ports, or up to 128 gigabit Ethernet ports. The switch’s backplane scales up to 139Gbps.

Dick Lush, marketing director of Lucent’s LAN systems group, said the P880 is ideally suited to function as a large backbone switch, although it could also work its way into very large workgroups.

Although the switch chassis is available this month, Lush said the switch will initially support only the 50 series modules used in Lucent’s existing P550 switches. The 80 series modules designed for the P880 won’t be released until some time this summer.

The 50 series modules have the same software features as the 80 series modules will have, Lush said, but they don’t have equivalent hardware features.

“For instance one of the differences is the queueing method…To keep it simple, one of the fundamental differences you’ll see in the new modules are the performance issues.”

Lush noted the P880 contains a full range of hardware and software functions.

“We don’t a la carte you to death,” he said. “You don’t have to buy additional hardware and software options.”

And if users start with Layer 2 modules and decide later on they need Layer 3 capability, Lush said they can upgrade through software, rather than having to perform a more expensive hardware upgrade.

Cutting Edge’s Young said the P880 definitely fills a hole in the Cajun line. She added that the Cajun family still has some spaces to fill, particularly at the workgroup level.

“They have Layer 2 stuff, but they don’t have any Layer 3 devices that would push policy all the way down to the workgroup,” she said.

The P880 is available this month and lists at US$24,950. This includes the chassis, switching fabric, controller, supervisor module and one power supply. The 50-series modules range in price from US$3,995 to US$13,950.

Lucent Technologies Canada in Toronto can be reached at 1-888-458-2368.