Extreme, Ciena Offer 4G Network Backhaul Routers, Switches

New routers and switches from Extreme Networks and Ciena are designed to help mobile carriers handling the rapidly growing network traffic driven by the explosion of connected mobile devices and mobile video.

Extreme Networks and Ciena are rolling out Ethernet-based networking products aimed at mobile carriers as they make the transition to 4G.

Extreme officials Feb. 7 unveiled a line of mobile Ethernet backhaul routers that let mobile operators not only make the transition to 4G, but also continue to see strong returns on its investments in 2G and 3G technologies. The move comes at a time when the number of mobile devices and growth in mobile multimedia traffic both are rising dramatically, mobile network providers are looking for ways to improve performance and scalability on their networks while driving down latency and costs.

Extreme's new family of 4G offerings will help mobile operators to move to an all-IP/Ethernet network-most 2G and 3G networks use TDM-based backhauls-which will enable them to better deliver such applications as HD video, voice and data, according to company officials. Greater Ethernet capabilities will not only help business and consumer users, but also in the growing M2M (machine-to-machine) space, they said.

Extreme officials are expecting there to be 1 billion broadband users by the end of 2011.

Network providers are finding a rapidly growing demand for greater performance, scalability and video capabilities. In a report Feb. 1,Cisco Systems predicts that by 2015, mobile data traffic will grow 26 times-primarily driven by mobile video demand and use of smartphones and tablets-to 6.3 exabytes. By that same year, there will be 5.6 billion personal devices and 1.5 billion M2M nodes connected to mobile networks.

Extreme's new offerings-which are due out this year-include the E4G-200 Cell Site Router and E4G-400 Cell Site Aggregation Router that will enable 4G mobile backhaul via 1 Gigabit Ethernet to 10GbE scalability, integrated synchronous Ethernet ITU-G.8262, support for IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol, and support for Ethernet Automatic Protection Switching and ITU-G.8032 resilient packet rings. The features will offer greater resiliency and eliminate the need to deploy GPS devices at every cell tower.

In addition, IPv4/v6 support and MPLS-TP brings greater scalability, according to Extreme officials.

For its part, Ciena on Feb. 7 announced an expansion of its Carrier Ethernet Service Delivery product line with new switches aimed at LTE (long-term evolution) 4G networks. The move to 4G is putting pressure on network providers to improve the scalability, management and quality-of-service control of the wireless backhaul portion of the networks, which ensures traffic flow between cell towers and land-based core networks.

Ciena officials say that using their carrier Ethernet connections for LTE backhauls, mobile network operators can save up to 30 percent in capital expenses and reduce turn-up times at base stations by 80 percent.

"With these new platforms, we are even better positioned to transition operators to backhaul infrastructures that can efficiently and cost-effectively scale to meet the demands of 4G, which will be critical to the performance and success of next-generation mobile data services, devices and networks," Steve Alexander, senior vice president and CTO at Ciena, said in a statement.

Ciena rolled out its ActivEdge 3930 Service Delivery Switch, which offers multiple edge timing and synchronization options, more port capacity for enhanced Ethernet service delivery and automated traffic load testing, all of which support the transition to high-speed bandwidth applications. The ActivEdge 3931switch puts the featuers fo the 3930 intro a sealed enclosure.

Ciena also announced the ActivEdge 2916 Service Delivery Switch, an all-1GbE compact product platform that offers greater speed, automation and customization, according to company officials.