Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Interlaken makes splash in Cisco QFP

One of the key points Cisco Systems makes about its 20 Gbit/s Quantum Flow Processor, officially launched today as secret sauce in the company's new edge router, is that it has plenty of headroom because it is designed for a 40 Gbit/s upgrade. Turns out the Interlaken interconnect Cisco defined with Cortina Systems is the key ingredient in that upgrade.

Cisco will spin a version of the QFP that replaces four SPI 4.2 ports with four Interlaken ports to get the 40 Gbit/s throughput. The QFP internal architecture is already plumbed for 40G, the company claims.

Perhaps this high profile role will help the Interlaken technology see broader industry use beyond the walls of Cisco. Tundra and Altera already support Interlaken, a transport independent protocol that some already run at up to 60 Gbit/s. Perhaps it's time for members of the Optical Internetworking Forum to consider making some version of Interlaken an approved standard along with its own SPI-S.

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