Nokia Rolls Out The World’s Fastest Routers

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Nokia rolled out the world’s fastest routers on Wednesday, giving its existing network business a boost and marking a breakthrough into the core router market dominated by rivals Juniper and Cisco.

The new traffic routers can handle the greater demands of virtual reality programming, cloud-based internet services and next-generation mobile communications, the Finnish company said.

They will also serve Nokia’s existing base of telecom operator customers who want speed, but still must contend with legacy gear needed to run existing services, as they are backward compatible with older products.

Nokia’s new products, which grew out of its 15.6 billion-euro ($17.5 billion) 2016 acquisition of Alcatel and its IP network gear business, should help it win business from companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon, for whom transmission speed is everything and who are still increasing spending on network gear, unlike its traditional base of telecoms customers.

“With this announcement, Nokia will have the highest-performance system capacity in the market, and a lot of those web-scalers, they just want speed,” said Ray Mota, a principal analyst, in an interview. “That gives them an opportunity to approach the core network market with more credibility and gain some traction there.”

Telecom operators’ capital spending is increasing by just 2-3% a year which means Nokia is turning to web-scale players whose spending on new network gear is rising by double-digits.

The former Alcatel IP networks business is already the world’s No. 2 player in edge routers behind Cisco, having displaced Juniper Networks, which is now No. 3.

Nokia’s Petabit-Class Routers

Nokia’s latest FP4 silicon chipset is capable of processing data at 2.4 terabits per second. It’s based on the FP3 chip Nokia already uses, but combines several of them into a single package. The new chipsets will be shipped in the fourth quarter, with routers running FP4 chips ready in the first quarter of next year.

These will be built into routers to operate both ultra high-speed “core” networks at the heart of the biggest internet services and also “edge” networks that connect datacenters to front-line customer services on mobile or fixed-line networks.

Pack several of these on the same circuit board and the end result is a line card capable of 12 Tbps. In a new router, these cards can handle six times the traffic of the model they replace, but according to Steve Vogelsang, CTO for Nokia’s IP and optical business, they can be put into routers up to 10 years old as well.

FP4 chips, which are manufactured for Nokia by Taiwan’s TSMC are designed using circuits as narrow as 16 nanometers apart, skipping 22- and 28-nanometer-sized circuits compared to the prior FP3 processor built at 40-nanometer scale, Nokia said.

Nokia is introducing the 7950 petabit-class router aimed at the core routing market to help it win business from customers such as Apple and Facebook. A petabit can transmit 5,000 two-hour-long high-definition videos every second. For edge network customers, Nokia is introducing its 7750 router, offering the highest traffic capacity on the market.

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