Equipe aims to bridge ATM, MPLS network

Start-up Equipe Communications Corp. this week will unveil its first and flagship product, a switch for the core of service provider networks designed to transition ATM-based infrastructures to IP and Multi-protocol Label Switching.

The E3200 combines ATM switching and IP/MPLS routing with a SONET/Synchronous Digital Hierarchy optical cross connect in a modular chassis that scales to 320G bit/sec of optical interface density and 200G bit/sec of switching capacity. The platform is intended to let service providers migrate gradually from ATM to IP/MPLS without a wholesale disruption to their service infrastructure and revenue base.

The E3200's single-rack footprint can support 32 OC-192s, 128 OC-48s and 512 OC-12 and OC-3s.

Traffic entering the E3200 from ATM/frame relay switches, IP edge routers and Class 4 or 5 voice switches is groomed and multiplexed at the STS-1 level by the E3200's integrated cross connect. It is then switched through the E3200's packet and cell fabric, and converted to wavelengths for transport over a dense wave division multiplexer core or handed off to a high-speed leased-line backbone network.

Service providers evaluating the E3200 call it unique in its ability to bridge the ATM and MPLS worlds.

"We provide converged voice and data services over a single line using an integrated access device, but we also provide Internet services via that same platform," says Mike Johnson, CTO at Lightyear. "So there currently is an ATM-to-Internet link that we think that we may be able to do more efficiently using MPLS as opposed to permanent virtual circuits. We're looking at Equipe as possibly being able to help us with scalability between our Internet platform and our ATM platform."

The E3200 costs $140,000. The firm expects to ship the product by year-end.

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