Avici scales down core

Avici Systems Inc. this week unveiled a scaled-down version of its Internet core router in an effort to crack new markets.

The Stackable Switch Router (SSR) is an OC-192 router targeted at regional/metro points of presence within regional Bell operating companies, IXC, PTT and ISP networks, and carriers and service providers with small core network requirements. It is based on the same architecture, and uses the same modules, software and command line interface as Avici's flagship TSR router, which is comprised of 40 slots and occupies a full telco rack.

The SSR is available in a 19-inch or 23-inch rack-mountable form factor. It features 20 slots per chassis, and supports interfaces ranging from OC-3c to OC-192c, and Gigabit Ethernet, and is said to be "OC-768c capable."

It scales from 5G bit/sec to 200G bit/sec per chassis, sports two redundant server slots, and supports MPLS Label Distribution Protocol, RSVP-TE signaling and rerouting capabilities.

Ethernet IP broadband services provider Intellispace is testing the SSR, as is Sandia National Labs. Sandia is using the TSR and the SSR in a supercomputing data storage network test bed.

Avici this week also unveiled enhancements to the TSR. They include an increase in the number of redundant server slots from two to four; MPLS reroute and protection capabilities; improved fiber cabling organization; and a 22 percent weight reduction.

Despite the dire condition of the industry portrayed in the press and analyst communities, Avici believes there's plenty of demand for products like the SSR and the enhanced TSR.

"Despite the doom and gloom, the demand for network growth is still there," says Esmeralda Swartz, director of strategic marketing at Avici. "We're still seeing 80 percent to 100 percent growth in Internet traffic per year; we're just not seeing any money."

She says an increase in the reliability and quality of IP and the Internet will change that. She also says recent announcements by Cisco to drive OC-192c into the edge of networks will create demand for increased capacity in the core.

Analysts view the SSR as a positive move for Avici.

"It represents a response to changing market conditions, leverages the technology of the TSR, and achieves downward scalability while still giving customers an upward scalable path," states market tracker Current Analysis in a recent report. "The SSR gives the company a product that addresses the capacity requirements that vendors are more likely to spend for today, (and) widens the product depth for the company to address smaller core and larger edge routing needs. The company now has a product that can not only more directly compete (with Cisco and Juniper), but can also provide very competitive short-term scalability and technology compatibility with a terabit system (the TSR)."

Still, Avici will be hard pressed to match the product breadth, service and support, and deep pockets of these more established vendors, Current Analysis states.

The starting cost for the SSR chassis is US$95,000. It is available now.

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