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Hammerhead Announces Telco Edge Switch

Startup Hammerhead Systems Inc. today announced its HSX 6000 edge switch, a box designed to make it easier for telecom service providers to move their customers from legacy systems like ATM and Frame Relay to more advanced networks.

Hammerhead, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company, said its expected product is specifically designed to allow service providers to migrate customers from older frame relay and ATM networks to MPLS backbones with minimal disruptions. New design technology in the HSX 6000 allows service providers to pool bandwidth across the switch, as well as provide simultaneous connections over ATM and MPLS, features which both assist in service migration, said Houman Modarres, director of product management for Hammerhead.

According to Modarres, service cutovers can cause serious fear and loathing between service providers and customers, especially large corporate customers who can't afford any network downtime. "Our mission is to help service providers migrate their customers and their revenue from ATM backbones to MPLS," Modarres said. "Some service providers don't even like to send messages to their customers telling them about what a [service] cutover involves. It's very important to smooth out that transition."

A dual control plane implementation allows the HSX 6000 to simultaneously interconnect with ATM and MPLS networks, Modarres said, allowing providers to support legacy enterprise networks -- and their revenue -- while consolidating their own costs by moving to a converged IP/MPLS core. When the customer is ready to switch to MPLS or other IP services, the HSX will let service providers deliver an instantaneous cutover, Modarres said.

The bandwidth pooling technology in the switch allows the HSX 6000 to virtually map the interface line cards, allowing for more-efficient use of the total switch throughput, Hammerhead said. Hammerhead also introduced an integrated management system and a provisioning gateway for the switch, with all products available now.

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