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03 July 2012
Alcatel-Lucent has announced its first IP core router family, complementing its existing portfolio of edge routers. The 7950 core has a system capacity of up to 32 Terabits and uses the company's 400Gbps FP3 packet-processing chipset.
Core routers transmit IP traffic across the network backbone, whereas edge routers are used to aggregate a variety of operator services such as residential broadband, cellular traffic backhaul and enterprise. But changes in the network have resulted in Alcatel-Lucent embracing greater service intelligence in the 7950.
One such development is the distribution of content across the network to be closer to end users. Another is cloud computing and the associated growth in symmetric traffic streams.
"The 7950 is designed with the understanding that the core is expanding in terms of what it does," said Houman Modarres, director product marketing with Alcatel-Lucent's IP division. "There is going to be core-like scale with some service-level functionality."
The FP3 chipset, announced in 2011, is already used in Alcatel-Lucent's edge routers but the 7950 family will be the first router platform family to exploit the full capability of the chipset. The high-end 7950 XRS-40, expected in the first half of 2013, has 40 slots and will support up to 160, 100 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. 
Using the FP3 chipset halves the router system's overall power consumption from 4W/Gigabit to 2W/Gigabit.  
Power saving at the chip level is achieved using a 40nm CMOS process to make the FP3, and wider use of clock gating to turn off circuitry when not in use. 
Power saving at the system level is achieved using one FP3 400Gbit/s chipset rather than four previous-generation FP2 100Gbps packet processing chipsets, each requiring its own memory and copy of the packet look-up tables.
By Roy Rubenstein