Alcatel Intros MPLS-Enabled Metro Ethernet Switch

Alcatel today announced a new Ethernet switch designed to let service providers bring greater quality of service and managability to metro-area networks.

June 7, 2004

2 Min Read
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Alcatel today announced a new Ethernet switch designed to let service providers bring greater quality of service and managability to metro-area networks.

Called the 7450 Ethernet Service Switch, the new box uses Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) technology to let service providers deliver more services to their metro customers with better quality of service and faster provisioning, according to Vinay Rathore, director of strategic marketing for Alcatel's fixed communications group.

"The new switch is built to deliver high quality packet-based services with a high amount of predictability," said Rathore, who added that enterprise customers are increasingly asking for more-stringent service level agreements (SLAs) for their telecom and networking needs.

"You don't want to run things like Voice over IP over a 'best-effort' connection," Rathore said. The 7450 switch, he said, will allow service providers to deliver better quality of service and better management of service deployment, via its integrated MPLS technology and management tools.

The 7450 is a smaller progeny of Alcatel's 7750 Service Router, a backbone box Alcatel inherited when it purchased TiMetra Inc. in 2003. MPLS, widely used in core network equipment for its ability to help deliver quality of service, scalability and other attributes, has typically not been included in pure Ethernet switches due to the cost of the technology and the lack of MPLS demand at the metro and enterprise customer level.Having MPLS in a metro switch, Rathore said, could allow service providers to deliver native Ethernet services with the same predictability and service guarantees of other wide-area services, like ATM or Frame Relay.

"As you get MPLS closer to the end customer, you can provide better predictability on an end to end basis," Rathore said. "The ability to offer ATM-like QoS is something that's very easy for customers to understand."

The 7450 is available now in two configurations: A single-slot chassis with room for two half-size line cards, or a larger chassis with two fabric slots and 10 line card slots. Line cards support all Ethernet flavors (from a 60-port 10/100 connection to a single 10-Gigabit link) as well as colored optics and OC-3 and OC-48 connections. Alcatel did not offer pricing information for the 7450.

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