Users might take a pass on new Intel router: analyst

Enterprises will be able to double their high-speed routing capacity with Intel Corp.’s new HDSL2 router offering, according to the company.

But according to one analyst, companies might just let this technology pass and wait for the next big thing.

The Intel Express 9545 is based on the new American National Standards Institute (ANSI) High-Speed Digital Subscriber Line (HDSL2) standard. The router enables 1.5Mbps speed over a single pair of copper wires.

“The end customer is a medium-sized enterprise and the key channel for this will be CLECs or telcos offering T-1 type connections to their customers,” explained Anni Moeller, product line manager for Intel Express routers.

SDSL is not standardized, she explained, and all products must be tested, proven and developed specifically to ensure that users have interoperability.

“HDSL2 is the first DSL standard, and of course the advantage is that all products following the standard will work with each other. So customer premises equipment like our product will work with DSLAMs (DSL Access Multiplexor) or central office equipment without any issues,” Moeller explained.

While there seems to be many benefits to the new standard, Matthew Davis, a senior analyst with Boston-based The Yankee Group, said many companies are choosing to let this technology pass, and instead are waiting for G.SDSL to become standardized.

“G.S is sort of what they’ve been referring to it as,” he explained. “It uses the same PAM modulation that HDSL2 does, but you can sub-rate it. With HDSL2 you’re locked in at 1.5Mbps symmetrical, whereas with G.S you can sub-rate it like SDSL…I think it goes up to something like 2.3Mbps symmetrical.”

G.S is expected to be standardized by the fourth quarter of this year, according to Davis.

Davis said the HDSL2 standard came into effect just a few months ago, and he isn’t sure if Intel’s offering is the absolute first to be based on it.

“They may have gotten it out first…who knows? Certainly a lot of different companies that produce routers have been working on HDSL2 for probably eight months or close to a year now, anticipating the formulation of the standard,” Davis said.

The Express 9545 integrates the HDSL2 interface and a Channel Service Unit/Data Service Unit (CSU/DSU). By having this and the routing capabilities in one device, administrators have less to install, and the total cost is lowered, Moeller said.

Another advantage of Intel’s new product is the addition of the Embedded Operation Channel (EOC) standard and optional remote console capabilities, which would allow a service provider which is deploying the product at a customer site to have the product sent directly to the end customer, she said.

“Then (the service provider) can go in from his central office and basically set up the device, set up all the parameters and do the full configuration remotely without having to send out technicians. And he can work through different faces to make sure that it works and is configured correctly,” Moeller explained.

The Express 9545 is part of a family of 15 routers, along with a firmware release which was also announced. The Intel Express Router 4.2 release is available for free, and is downloadable from the company’s support site. It includes a dynamic inspection firewall, as well as optional Open Shortest Path First (OSPF) routing protocol, which is an advanced routing protocol.

The key benefit of the family of Express routers from Intel is ease of use and management, Moeller said.

“We have provided wizards that will ask very simple questions and then you just enter that information. The routers will then do self-configuration and auto-detections of interface, et cetera,” she explained. “They are very intelligent devices that will allow even smaller businesses to deploy our routers for standard Internet working as well as Internet access.”

The Intel Express 9545 is listed at US$1899, according to Moeller. For more information about the Express router family, visit To download the firmware, go to