Alcatel-Lucent breakthrough IP router chips capable of 400Gbps

28 Jun 2011

Alcatel-Lucent has introduced a new network processor that increases the performance of the fastest IP networks up to 400Gbps – while cutting power consumption by 50pc.

The new FP3 processor opens up new possibilities for bandwidth-intensive services and will be commercially available in Alcatel-Lucent’s service router portfolio in 2012.

The first of a new generation of IP routing technology, the FP3 processor is designed to address tomorrow’s demand for ultra-high performance public and private IP networks. For example, a single FP3 processor could handle 70,000 simultaneous high-definition video streams or 8.4m simultaneous retail cloud sessions.

“Alcatel-Lucent brings a wealth of experience and technical skill to the challenge of putting the next generation of silicon into their service routers,” said Simon Stanley, founder and principal consultant of Earlswood Marketing Limited.

“The same engineers have moved through 10Gbps to 100Gbps and now to 400Gbps. The result is a chipset which delivers the versatility of a programmable network processor and a massive increase in speed, without compromising on deep touch services.”

Massive growth for Gigabit Ethernet

Alcatel-Lucent is the first company to develop 400Gbps technology for IP networks, helping to accelerate the adoption of 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GE), which was standardised in 2010, while providing a clear path for higher speeds in future. According to a recent forecast by Dell’Oro Group, 100GE port shipments from 2010 through 2015 are predicted to grow in excess of 200pc annually.

Basil Alwan, president of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Division, said: “This technology puts us a generation ahead of today’s fastest IP core routers. And, it’s not just moving bits, but generating revenue and creating value for service providers and their business, residential and mobile customers. By making networks faster, smarter and more environmentally sustainable, Alcatel-Lucent is enabling the continuous innovation of consumer and business devices, content and applications that increasingly depend on service provider networks.”

“Alcatel-Lucent is showing its technology roots, recently with lightRadio for the wireless market and now with the FP3 400G network processor for IP routing,” stated Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst Carrier and Data Centre Networks, Infonetics Research.

“I’m impressed that any company could develop such a high capacity network processor, solving 400Gbps in the electrical domain before the industry solves 400Gbps for lightwaves. This 400Gbps chipset is a generational advance that will improve router 100GE density/cost and will attract the eye of service providers.”

Alcatel-Lucent has also taken an industry leadership role by driving an “ecosystem” of semiconductor partners, including Samsung Semiconductor, NetLogic Microsystems, Micron, GSI Technology, Cypress and Broadcom to deliver complementary components that support the transition to ultra-fast, low-power networks with deterministic performance.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years