Carrier Ethernet strikes a chord

Alcatel-Lucent; Juniper, Tellabs unveil products, enhancements at NXTcomm

Carrier Ethernet is a hot topic at this week's NXTcomm conference in Las Vegas, with three major vendors offering enhancements to their product families.

Alcatel-Lucent unveiled integration of IEEE 802.1ah Provider Backbone Bridging (PBB) and Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) technologies to increase the scale and reach of carrier metro Ethernet VPN services. These capabilities are offered on Alcatel-Lucent's 7750 and 7710 Service Routers, and 7450 Ethernet Services Switch.

Meanwhile, Juniper Networks expanded the range of interface cards for its MX-series portfolio of Ethernet Services Routers with the addition of three interchangeable dense port concentrator (DPC) modules. These modules are designed to support a wider range of Ethernet network architectures in both the enterprise and service provider markets.

And Tellabs enhanced its 8800 multiservice router series with Ethernet operations, administration, maintenance and provisioning (OAM&P) functionality and service-level monitoring.

The announcements follow Ericsson's recent Carrier Ethernet debut, when its Redback Networks subsidiary entered the burgeoning market with its first Ethernet switch. Some analysts project the current $2.5 billion market to approach $5 billion in four years.

Alcatel-Lucent's integrated PBB/VPLS software is designed to scale multipoint metro Ethernet service networks within and beyond metro boundaries by combining the MAC address "hiding" capabilities of PBB with the traffic engineering and convergence characteristics of VPLS and MPLS. Alcatel-Lucent is collaborating with other vendors and service providers on an IETF draft RFC, which defines VPLS extensions for PBB.

The company also unveiled an IPSec-Integrated Services Adapter, which lets service providers include secure business VPN service options for remote-access to L3 VPNs, site-to-site and network infrastructure services, Alcatel-Lucent says.

Other capabilities introduced this week on the Alcatel-Lucent Service Router portfolio include support for IEEE Carrier Ethernet Operation Assurance and Management (OA&M) standards; and enhancements to its 5620 Service Aware Manager and 5650 Control Plane Access Manager for provisioning and managing Layer 2 and Layer 3 VPN services in a uniform manner.

Also, Alcatel-Lucent announced support for DSL-based IP VPNs through the addition of Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet. PPPoE is a typically used in many DSL networks and allows a client to be connected to a Broadband Remote Access Server (B-RAS) using a tunnel over an Ethernet path.

PPPoE sessions can now be directly terminated on a subscriber interface of a L3 VPN or Internet service on a 7750 router. This eliminates the need for a separate B-RAS when using DSL to deliver VPN services to small or medium business customers, the company says.

Alcatel-Lucent has also added IPv6 addressing support for Layer 3 VPNs to its 7750 router. This feature is intended to address Asian and other early adopter IPv6 markets.

Juniper's new interface cards for its MX-series Ethernet routers include:

* Copper-based 10/100/1000 Ethernet DPCs, which enable customers to support low-speed as well as high-speed interfaces.

* 20Gbps DPCs as a lower cost, more energy efficient alternative to full 40Gbps cards.

* Multi-rate DPCs, which enable customers to support both Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces on a single-line card.

The DPC interface cards work across the MX-240, MX-480 and MX-960 routers. They can be deployed in tandem with existing interface cards, Juniper says.

The 10/100/1000 Ethernet and 20Gbps DPCs are available immediately; the Multi-rate DPCs are expected to become available in the second half.

Competitor Tellabs' Carrier Ethernet extensions to its 8800 router include the addition of IEEE 802.1ag and 802.3ah OAM&P standards. These enable service providers to monitor the network's heartbeat across multiple management domains; interoperate with third-party products; remotely conduct maintenance and manage links between provider and customer hardware; receive alerts if failures occur; bundle multiple links between routers into one large link; and remotely detect and block loops in the network.

For service-level monitoring, Tellabs enhanced the 8800's Data Collection Module software to offer a set of historical statistics and accounting detail on the physical and logical resources in the Tellabs 8800 MSR to confirm compliance with Ethernet service-level agreements.

DCM lets users select and generate reports on specific performance management metrics, Tellabs says. These metrics also provide a baseline of network use for ongoing network planning and analysis.

The enhanced Tellabs 8800 MSR will be available in the third quarter.

Learn more about this topic

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VPLS slowly pushing out legacy services

Redback debuts Ethernet carrier switch
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