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Foundry Networks Inc. made its biggest play in the high-end service provider space Monday when it launched its new flagship NetIron IMR 640 core router and new edge router.

The new core router, along with the new EdgeIron 2404, are aimed at new MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) services, broadband Internet access Virtual Private Network services in metropolitan area and core service provider networks.

They present a much cheaper alternative to traditional packet over SONET networks, according to Ahmed Abdelhalim, product line manager for the new routers, in San Jose, Calif.

Foundry hopes to leverage its lead in 10 Gigabit Ethernet Layer 3 switching and leverage greater economies of scale for emerging Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet MPLS services that use high-speed Ethernet, rather than SONET-based OC-192 transports.

Click here to read more about Foundry’s launch of its new SuperX series of Layer 2 and Layer 3 switches.

Foundry will also compete on price against market leaders Juniper Networks Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc.

“We are way lower cost per port for 10 Gigabit Ethernet and OC-192. We want to be disruptive. Price has been an impediment to wide-scale 10 Gigabit Ethernet,” said Abdelhalim.

He said Foundry’s new offerings are one-tenth the cost of competitive offerings.

The NetIron IMR 640 can still interoperate with existing SONET transport networks by encapsulating Ethernet frames in SONET frames at OC-192 data rates.

That method requires using a 10 Gigabit Ethernet WAN PHY pluggable XENPAK module to link to a SONET OC-192 port on a DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing) optical system.

That interconnection method can lower the cost per port from as much as $225,000 down to $24,000, according to Foundry officials.

The NetIron IMR 640, designed to scale for carrier-class networks, provides up to 32 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

Users can deploy up to three chassis in a single rack for 96 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports in a rack.

It can look up and forward as many as 1 million IP V4 IP addresses in hardware, using the Foundry Direct Routing technology to eliminate software processing in the data forwarding path.

It supports dual IP V4/IP V6 protocol stacks.

Next Page: Supporting three flavors.

The NetIron IMR 640 also supports three flavors of MPLS, including virtual leased line service that emulates a point-to-point leased line; a Layer 2 VPLS (Virtual Private LAN Service) that allows enterprise customers to emulate Layer 2 over the service provider’s WAN; and a Layer 3 VPN multipoint service that emulates a Layer 3 network over the service provider’s backbone.

Read more here about Foundry refreshing its Layer 4 through Layer 7 switching line.

The router can also support up to 500 BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) peers and 4 million BGP routes in its routing information base.

The NetIron 2404 edge or aggregation router is intended to provide Layer 2 VPN and routed IP services to the customer premises equipment in a four-slot chassis that supports 24 10/100 ports and four Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The NetIron 2404 supports Intermediate System-Intermediate System, Routing Information Protocol, Open Shortest Path First and BGP-4 routing protocols.

Other interfaces include Asynchronous Transfer Mode as well as Packet over SONET operating at between OC-3 and OC-48 data rates.

The NetIron 2404 is due in May, and the NetIron IMR 640 is due by the end of march, although some modules will not ship until May.

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