Nokia is reaching beyond its traditional operator clients to webscale companies with a new petabit-class IP router based on what it called its “breakthrough” FP4 silicon chipset.
The new lineup includes Nokia’s 7750 Service Router (SR)-s series, which the company said provides the industry’s highest-density routing platform that can support a 144 Tbps configuration in a single shelf. But the star of the show is the Nokia 7950 Extensible Routing System (XRS)-XC, a petabit-class router capable of scaling to 576 Tbps in a single system through chassis extension, without requiring separate switching shelves.
Nokia said the platforms achieve an industry first with their ability to deliver terabit IP flows – a feat it said represents a 10x improvement over existing 100 Gbps links in the internet backbone.
The new routers are based on the company’s new FP4 silicon chipsets, which come with 2.4 Tbps of network processing power. Steve Vogelsang, CTO for Nokia’s IP and optical business, told Wireless Week the company was able to cost-effectively deliver the capacity increase within the chip’s space constraints by borrowing a novel packaging technique used in the gaming industry: taking multiple chips and stacking them into a single package.
“We were able to leverage that packaging technology and silicon technology but then apply it to the challenges of IP networking,” Vogelsang said.
For the FP4 silicon, Vogelsang also noted Nokia skipped a few design generations to jump from 40 nm process directly to a 16 nm process. The reason behind the shift was that Nokia “just didn’t see the incremental generations providing a big enough improvement” for what the company was looking for. Nokia also took on the challenge of designing its own high-speed intelligent memories to deliver fine-grain analytics and traffic control on the system, he said.
Vogelsang indicated the new routers are aimed both at Nokia’s traditional service provider clients and beyond them to large content providers and webscale companies. That’s because both are now involved in building the massive backbones the internet runs on, he said.
“Webscale operators are building bigger networks to connect resources across the globe and bring data centers closer to users for the highest performance,” ACG Research CEO and Principal Analyst Ray Mota explained. “Nokia has managed to combine the raw horsepower required to run historic amounts of traffic between data centers with intelligent, secure, and adaptable capabilities necessary for a cloud-connected environment.”
But Vogelsang said the new routers will also aid operator efforts to transition to software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV). That’s because where current SDN control layers offer the ability to monitor bulk traffic flows across the network, the new chip and routers can supplement that with much more detailed information from the network. Vogelsang said Deepfield, a real-time analytics company Nokia recently acquired, can then take that network information, combine it with other data, and offer a complete picture of what applications are running and how they’re performing.
“We can now assess what is the performance of the video that you’re watching. Are you getting high quality or low quality?” Vogelsang said. “Then, through the SDN control layer, we can take that information and drive configuration topology changes and fine-grain traffic control back into the network to ensure all of the applications and workloads are getting maximum quality and performance possible.”
Michael Howard, IHS Markit’s senior research director for Carrier Networks said these features are likely to be a draw for operators who are adopting big data analytics and software-driven automation.
“Operators are looking for a very high-performance network that provides not just the requisite jacked-up power and capacity, but they also need intelligence and extensibility to meet their goals of automation and service agility,” Howard noted. “Operators will want to examine the new Nokia FP4 silicon and the systems that use it – as it delivers against this triplet of critical network capabilities – to support their offered services in this cloud age with IoT, 5G, and machine communications, where networks must become bigger, more adaptable, and more secure than any we’ve seen to date.”
The new products are scheduled to begin shipping at the end of this year, Vogelsang said.
Filed Under: Infrastructure, IoT • IIoT • internet of things • Industry 4.0