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In April 2015, at its annual analyst event in Shenzhen, China, Huawei announced the NetEngine 9000 (NE9000) core router platform. The NE9000 is the largest-capacity router announced by any vendor. When available for trials early in 2016, it will be capable of providing up to 320 100GE ports per rack, and is designed to scale up to 8Pbps in a 6+24 cluster configuration.

Huawei drives home its innovation strategy with the NE9000

The NE9000 chassis consists of upper and lower Line Processor card cages with a total of 20 slots for line processing units (LPUs). The Switch Fabric Unit has eight slots for N+1 redundant switch fabric cards, and the Control Processor Unit, with 1:1 redundant processor modules, runs Huawei's Versatile Routing Platform operating system (VRP OS). Intelligent fan modules and a Modular Power System with N+N redundancy complete the chassis of the NE9000. The initial NE9000 linecards are based on the HiSilicon-developed 480Gbps Solar 3 network processor unit (NPU) introduced in September 2011. These initial linecards will provide either 16 CFP4 100GE ports or 40 QSFP+ 40GE ports. This means the NE9000 will be capable of providing more 100GE ports in a single chassis (up to 320) than any competing vendor's core router platform.

Huawei says it has designed the platform to support future scalability up to 8Tbps per slot. This means bandwidth-switching capacity up to 160Tbps in a single rack, and up to 8Pbps in a 6+24 cluster configuration. The NE9000 can operate as a classic core router, but Huawei emphasized that it plans to make future announcements of application-oriented solutions that take advantage of the product's scalable capacity, and the VRP operating system, to support SDN and NFV use cases.

There was a time when Huawei followed the market leaders. That time is long gone. In April 2013, Huawei was the first to announce a 1Tbps core router linecard, and in June 2014, was the first vendor to demonstrate a linecard with a 400GE port. Now, Huawei is once again demonstrating its commitment to an innovation strategy by pushing past competitors in core router scalable switching capacity.


Further reading

Driving Innovation in the IP Core, TE008-001382 (November 2013)

"NCS 6000: Cisco's new flagship core router," TE008-001380 (October 2013)

"Alcatel-Lucent's XRS: now the network core gets interesting," TE008-001192 (May 2012)


David Krozier, Principal Analyst, Intelligent Networks

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