Nokia Brings the Family Jewels (FPcx) to the Access Network – Raises Expectations

Glen Hunt, Principal Analyst
Summary Bullets:

• Operators are challenged to build access networks that transition from the 1G era to meet 10/100/400G service expectations. It is not only a bandwidth issue, but one of sustainability, flexibility, and the adaptability to deliver 5G services.

• Nokia’s move to adapt its FPcx silicon to fuel a new range of access and aggregation routers elevates the access layer as an integral part of the intelligent network and changes the game.

The access and aggregation routers of the past were based on platforms designed to deliver effective access and aggregation services for 1G to 10G services. Most were based on merchant silicon, which hosted a vendor’s network operating system and networking features, including platforms such as Nokia’s 7250 IXR. In contrast, the higher-scale IP services edge and IP core have been based on proprietary silicon, which delivered high-scale switching capacity, rich telemetry, and programmability needed to meet automate and meet stringent performance, power, and security requirements. The use of merchant silicon was widely adopted by equipment vendors to deliver solutions that kept pace with market demands, and a few vendors also leveraged programmable silicon such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Part of the draw for merchant silicon was driven by operators who desired to minimize vendor dependance – i.e., the white box era.

Nokia has changed the trajectory of its access and aggregation strategy by introducing an optimized version of its high-performance and feature-rich FP silicon (FPcx) into a compact and extensible family of routers optimized for IP access, aggregation, and edge applications. 5G networks are more complex than their predecessors, and the need to automate the service lifecycle becomes critical to effectively deliver services while simplifying network operations. Nokia’s 7730 service interconnect routers (7730 SXR) platforms leverage the Nokia SR Linux network operating system and the Nokia network services platform automation suite. In addition to the ability to automate, FPcx supports advanced routing capabilities, a broad range of interface speeds (1GE to 400GE), and a switching capacity of 5 Tbps with embedded services such as DDoS mitigation and MACsec. The new platforms also leverage optical pluggables, which provide additional flexibility for operators as they evolve their access networks to cope with new and emerging service requirements.

Nokia’s announcement is well-timed since operators are facing the need to update their end-to-end network infrastructures, and having a common feature set and management model for all layers of the network can dramatically reduce complexity; having the capacity to provide secure 10GE – 400GE services future proofs investments in the 7330 SRX family of routers.

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