Alcatel-Lucent unveils its core packet optical switch

Alcatel-Lucent is fanning the flames of the packet optical networking debate with its core 1870 Transport Tera Switch (TTS).

The TTS, which is reportedly in trials with major service providers, is a response to the growing desire for core optical networking infrastructure that combines packet and optical networking into an optical solution to meet the insatiable consumer and business user demand for bandwidth.  

Although it can support next-gen Optical Transport Network (OTN) capabilities and Ethernet, the jack of all trades TSS can also serve the embedded base of SONET/SDH all on one fabric. The TTS can also handled grooming down the ODU0 level.

Supporting all of these functions is its 1 Tbps proprietary universal switching chip, which allows universal switching of any traffic mix. Initially the TTS will scale to as high as four Tbps, but it's "hardware ready" to support 8 Tbps.

Analysts believe that Alcatel-Lucent's move is a response to Verizon's desire for a Packet Optical Transport platform.

"This is clearly the product Alcatel-Lucent is taking to Verizon for the long-haul packet optical transport (POT) RFP, albeit the actual long-haul optics has yet to be added," wrote Eve Grilliches, Managing Partner for ACG Research in a market impact report. "Alcatel-Lucent's approach is shrewd as well as smart, because Verizon trusts Alcatel-Lucent in the optics area even though it has had less success with previous switch fabrics and packet testing, mainly with the 1850 TSS. The 1870 TTS allows them (and other providers, of course) to start testing the aggregation of TDM and Carrier Ethernet traffic over OTN with the new switch fabric."

But as suggested in a LightReading article, Alcatel-Lucent is aware that other service providers may favor the IPoverDWDM approach. In this approach--one favored by surprise, surprise, routing vendors such as Cisco and Juniper--optical capabilities are placed onto the router. This means that Alcatel-Lucent will be ready to support carriers who may favor one approach over the other.

For more:
- see the release here
- LightReading has this analysis

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