Sunday, June 4, 2006

Hammerhead Announces Multi-Segment Pseudowire and Pseudowire Switching

Hammerhead Systems introduced multi-segment pseudowires and pseudowire switching functionality on its HSX 6000 Layer 2.5 Aggregation Switch, which leverages a unique Bandwidth Pooling architecture to virtualize key switch resources and eliminate stranded capacity. Hammerhead already offers Service Agile Ports that enable flexible software provisioning of any physical port for a variety of services and data rates. A Service Interworking Engine allows service providers to introduce new Ethernet-based services to their existing Frame Relay and ATM customers. The HSX 6000 offers extensive support for Ethernet (native GigE and EoS) as well as legacy services (FR, ATM, PPP, HDLC, & POS).

The company said the new pseudowire capabilities were specifically requested by a large tier 1 customer.

Hammerhead also announced its implementation of ATM PNNI to MPLS Pseudowire interworking (draft Swallow) on the HSX 6000 Layer 2.5 Aggregation Switch to provide true service interworking between next-generation MPLS networks and legacy ATM networks in a seamless, standards-based solution. Hammerhead's implementation of the draft Swallow is available today.

"To the extent that fixed and mobile service providers look to integrate legacy operations with the converged IP/MPLS core, Hammerhead's ability to offer standards-based interworking between the MPLS and ATM control planes on a single network element -- the HSX 6000 -- is a capability our customers have found to be both operationally and financially compelling," said Peter Savage, Hammerhead's President and CEO.

The IETF's PWE3 working group has addressed key issues that facilitate the use of MPLS Pseudowires as the service construct for encapsulation and mapping of a broad array of Layer 2 services over MPLS. The IETF's draft for Multi-Segment Pseudowires allows a service provider to extend Pseudowires across multiple domains and tunnels. With the introduction of Pseudowire Switching, service providers can scale connections in the access network without impacting the control plane, avoiding the typical "n2" (n-squared) mesh connectivity problem in mapping connections across a network.

Multi-Segment Pseudowires (MS-PW) also address inter-carrier interconnections, a key area of concern for service providers. By extending Pseudowires across service provider boundaries, Multi-Segment Pseudowires help address confidentiality and security requirements, and provide interworking between disparate tunneling technologies used in different networks.

Hammerhead said its implementation supports static and dynamic placement of Multi-Segment Pseudowires on the HSX 6000. Multi-Segment Pseudowires work as two or more contiguous Pseudowire segments that function as a single point-to-point virtual connection. In a MS-PW, the service provider edge connection is dynamically created by signaling, and is not configured by the end user.

In light of the recent wave of consolidation among service providers, the interconnection of various networks and network domains is an important element of streamlining operations. Pseudowires enable the mapping of Layer 2 attributes that are critical to SLA enforcement and deterministic QoS guarantees to IP flows. This facilitates the aggregation of a variety of incoming traffic from the access network to a single IP-based network core.

Hammerhead's solution elevates the technology from simple packet encapsulation into a carrier-deployable service, particularly across demarcation interfaces. Consequently, this requires call admission control (CAC) and inter-carrier routing policy. The Hammerhead implementation optimizes the number of targeted LDP sessions that are required. It enables service providers to set up Pseudowires through multiple networks, using LDP and Generic FEC within the control-plane.

Hammerhead's implementation of PNNI-Pseudowire Interworking, consistent with the IETF draft Swallow, enables service providers to migrate revenue-generating traffic resident on legacy ATM networks to the MPLS core, and facilitates the introduction of advanced Ethernet-based services to existing customers. Hammerhead is delivering its standards-based implementation on a single network element, the HSX 6000, consolidating functions that have historically required separate switches and routers with proprietary implementations.

  • In January 2006, Hammerhead Systems, a start-up based in Mountain View, California, closed $30 million in Series C funding, for its traffic aggregation and switching platform.

  • Hammerhead's HSX 6000 is a purpose-built Layer 2.5 Aggregation Switch that features MPLS Pseudowire technology. It provides dense Ethernet aggregation, Pseudowire termination, legacy Frame Relay and ATM support, and Service Interworking. It features a "Layer 2.5" edge aggregation approach designed to integrate access services (wireline, broadband, broadband fixed wireless and 3G) that are typically based on Layer 2 connection-oriented technologies with new services that are based on Layer 3. The platform supports the migration of Frame Relay / ATM services onto MPLS backbones, so that it can be used as an aggregation platform in an Ethernet service architecture, offering native Gigabit Ethernet as well as Ethernet-over-SONET (both GFP and x.86) trunking capabilities. On the subscriber side, the HSX 6000 switch offers high-density fan-in across a range of new and legacy service interfaces, media and speeds, including Ethernet.

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