29/06/2011

Alcatel-Lucent develops 400Gb/s processor

This isn't a normal CPU that comes in a general purpose computer, but a network
compute engine and 400Gb/s is high speed. As mobile data and Internet data incre
ase the core backbones have to support more and more traffic.
LAN speeds have been increasing over the years and while a few years back everybody was happy with 10Mb/s Ethernet, now home (wired) LANs are 100Mb/s or even 1000Mb/s (1Gb/s).

At the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) they have to cope with much higher speeds and LANs might run at 10Gb/s or even 40Gb/s and very shortly 100Gb/s (the 100Gb/s standard was only ratified last year and it takes a while for vendors to produce equipment based on the standards). The next speed increase takes the LAN up to 400Gb/s.

It's all very well running high speed LANs but they need to connect to other things (just like a home router with multiple LAN connections) and the equipment needs high speed network processors to be able to move data around and work out where it should be going in real-time.

Traditionally the high speed core router market has been dominated by Cisco followed by Juniper and more recent Huawei from China. This now put Alcatel-Lucent back in the race for providing the next generation of Internet systems.

Alcatel-Lucent's processor is known as the FP3 and can handle 70,000 simultaneous HD video streams or 8.4m cloud sessions and it's these types of services which are expanding rapidly and the core networks need to stay ahead of consumer demand.
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