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Vendors scale down IP service switches

Smaller, less-expensive switches may encourage new services.

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Vendors of IP service switches are testing the possibility that less is more.

Quarry Technologies and Cosine are announcing smaller versions of their existing service switches that impose service characteristics - such as VPN tunneling, virtual routing and quality of service - on customer IP traffic. The idea is to customize traffic flows into services that are easily configured.

Quarry is introducing the iQ4000 and Cosine is introducing IPSX 3500. Each is controlled by its own management system that can define services, set and enforce policies on traffic and let customers provision their own services.


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The two companies are following an industry trend in which service switch vendors introduce smaller, less-expensive versions of their products in an effort to attract more service provider customers, says Ron Westfall, a research director for Current Analysis.

"This is part of a normal product development, but it may have been accelerated to meet tighter carrier budgets," he says.

IP service providers are trying to sell more than just network connectivity, so they need these service switches. But they also require relatively small capital outlay and a potentially quick return on that investment, he says.

With that, Quarry's iQ4000 is essentially a scaled-down version of the company's first product, the iQ8000. The 10G bit/sec switch has eight slots with four available for I/O modules. These include ports for 10/100M bit/sec Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, ATM, packet-over-SONET and channelized time division multiplexing traffic.

With these interfaces, the device can serve as a service distribution point in a high-rise office building and link with a metropolitan optical service provider network. Or it could aggregate customer traffic at a local point of presence, the company says.

The switch can perform encryption and decryption at line speed from any port as well as quality of service applied per application.

Cosine is introducing IPSX 3500, the smaller version of its IPSX 9000. Designed for local points of presence, the IPSX 3500 supports network-based VPNs, firewalls, interworking between frame relay and IP Security networks, virtual routed networks and other services.

The Cosine IPSX is available in the second quarter and starts at $38,000. The Quarry iQ4000 starts at $55,000 and is available in July.

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