A new network processor from Alcatel-Lucent, the Flex Path 3 (FP3), can support 400 Gbps transmission speeds, and it will be at the heart of the company’s IP service routing portfolio – from metro to edge to the core of its High Leverage Network (HLN) architecture.

The FP3 comes as two chips: a package processor and a traffic manager.

Alcatel-Lucent says the FP3 400 Gbps technology for IP networks will help accelerate the adoption of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GE), which was standardized in 2010, while providing a clear path for higher speeds in the future. According to a recent forecast by Dell’Oro Group, 100GE port shipments from 2010 through 2015 are predicted to grow in excess of 200 percent annually.
Basil Alwan, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Division, said in a Webcast yesterday, "Customers are building networks as fast as they can to keep up with bandwidth growth. It’s like changing the jet engines on a flying jet. Service providers are making choices in metro networks and core networks and edge networks and slowly – as they can – converging these networks onto a common technology platform and sometimes onto a common network. The foundation is truly silicon. It defines what the system can do."

The FP3 offers granular power management in 10G increments to reduce overall power consumption by up to 50 percent per bit. It leverages existing 40nanometer manufacturing processes and supports IP routing for a full range of business, residential and mobile edge services.

Alcatel-Lucent isn’t keeping its new technology to itself. Rather, it is encouraging such leading semiconductor partners as Samsung Semiconductor, NetLogic Microsystems, Micron, GSI Technology, Cypress and Broadcom to push the envelope of innovation when it comes to high-speed double data rate (DDR),  Reduced-Latency Dynamic Random Access Memory (RLDRAM), Content Addressable Memory (CAM) and Quad Data Rate (QDR) memory and memory access to accelerate adoption of 100G speeds and beyond.
FP3-based line cards for Alcatel-Lucent’s 7750 SR will be available in 2-port 100GE, 6-port 40GE and 20-port 10GE configurations in 2012.

While Alcatel-Lucent is focusing on the silicon for its routers, Cisco focused on the routers themselves, announcing its ASR 9000 Series earlier this month. (For more, see Cisco’s ASR 9000 and the Zettabyte Era).

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily


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