Foundry rolls out 40 Gig roadmap

Vendors are already looking to both consolidate and strengthen their 10 Gigabit Ethernet offerings, while pushing networking technologies towards the next milestone of 40 Gig.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  May 26, 2003

With 10 Gigabit Ethernet standards less than a year old, vendors are looking to both consolidate and strengthen their 10 Gig offerings, while pushing networking technologies towards the next milestone of 40 Gigabit Ethernet.

Foundry Networks is one of the first players to announce 40 Gig ready slots with the introduction of its BigIron MG8 backbone switch and NetIron 40G metro router, which will be based on its new Terabit architecture. According to Adam Stein, director of corporate marketing at Foundry Networks, the Terabit architecture represents both “an evolution and revolution” for the vendor and will form the basis for many future product releases.

“Today what we are doing for the new chassis’ is using 40 Gigabit as the foundation,” he comments.

“The new platforms [BigIron MG8 and NetIron 40G] are only the first two products. This new architecture will spawn many products over the next few years and it will leverage 10 Gigabit in the local area network (LAN), the metro area network (MAN) and the wide area network (WAN). This is what Foundry Networks does very well — IP and Ethernet everywhere,” Stein continues.

At the core of these products, Foundry’s Terathon ASIC is driving switching and routing capabilities to deliver more than 1.28 terabits of system switching capacity, which is in turn designed to strengthen the density and performance of both Gigabit Ethernet and, more critically, 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Furthermore, Stein explains that the Terathon chipset, which the vendor developed in house, is driving other technological enhancements. “With the Terathon chipsets we use 80 million transistors and serialisation and de-serialisation — putting the information on to and taking it off the backplane — has moved all the way up to 3GHz,” he explains.

Foundry is also using the BigIron MG8 and NetIron 40G to target both the enterprise and service provider segments, with the latter product armed with greater memory and scalability.

“The NetIron 40G is targeted at metro and service provider networks. The switching capacity will be the same as the BigIron, with the same density and both products are 40 Gig ready. The differences are the amount of memory it [Netiron 40G] has, we can know have up to 4 million BGP routes on this system, which is what a service provider might want to offer and 128,000 Layer 3 entries per port, which is double the MG8,” says Anthony James, product marketing manager, enterprise applications, Foundry Networks.

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