SAN JOSE, Calif. After three years of chasing away skeptics, Caspian Networks Inc. has moved to full availability with its Apeiro flow-based router, intended for scaled core services that replace large ATM switches or routers.
By using ASIC-enabled quality-of-service in which each Internet Protocol source/destination pair defines a flow, Caspian (San Jose, Calif.) claims it can offer ATM-equivalent QoS prioritization along with Layer 2 multiprotocol label switching to define coarse IP flow monitoring.
Early on, Caspian almost shied away from the word “router” because of the demise of core-router architectures from companies like Pluris Inc. and Nexabit Inc. But Faizel Lakhani, vice president of marketing at Caspian, said that despite the skeptics, the company still needed to emphasize that its architecture had a greater ability to scale to core services than the older multiservice switches based on asynchronous transfer mode.
Apeiro comes in single-chassis 120-Gbit/second aggregate-capacity versions as well as in a three-unit, optically connected rack with 320-Gbit/s capacity. The bulk of switching, forwarding and management, including QoS buffering, is carried out on individual line cards, while a separate application processor card manages dynamic route protocols and interdomain routing management.
A control plane processor resides on a separate supervisory shelf. Rounding out the architecture is a family of switching-fabric cards, with local support at each switch for additional QoS buffering.
“By storing all the information on such factors as bandwidth and delay variation per flow, we think the Apeiro can provide guaranteed bandwidth in a more defined fashion,” Lakhani said. “Many router and switch designers have not really questioned how to accelerate signaling and flow set-up, and we think this is where the difference in handling hundreds of thousands of flow setups per second will be defined.”
The I/O options abound, and all standard routing protocols as well as MPLS services are supported. Optical transport will not be integrated, because few carriers appear interested in it, Caspian said.
The baseline price for the Apeiro router is $120,000, but Caspian is launching a special trade-in program for both ATM switches and Internet Protocol routers.