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Impressive networking hardware

We're doing a product evaluation on a new high-speed MPLS router, hoping to use it as the L2/L3 gear on our statewide dark fiber network. So far I've been reasonably impressed with it, but I have a lot more to do. It's an impressive little box, though; based on a Clos architecture crosspoint switch; it's only 4 RU high, and will support up to 16 10-gigabit Ethernet ports or several dozen gigabit Ethernet ports, all running flat out.

To get a board that can do 40 Gb/s of packet routing into that small of a form factor, the circuitry has got to be packed pretty densely. And those speeds generate a lot of heat. I pulled one of the boards out of the chassis and was amazed to see that everything is completely hidden by enormous heat sinks. Even the optical pluggables are bristling with silver heat sink spikes. The heat sinks plus the impressive fans and ductwork on the inside of the chassis point out that there's a lot of good mechanical engineering that has to go into a modern equipment design, in addition to the electrical and computer engineering.

I took a few pictures. Click for the gallery.


( 5 comments — Comment )
Oct. 12th, 2006 04:45 am (UTC)
It amuses me to work somewhere where my two web crawler machines, sucking down enough data to average 1 megabyte/second (peaking at 4 or 5), week after week doesn't even seem out of the ordinary. Actually, I think our web crawling activities are "good", bandwidth peering-wise, since we tend have people downloading stuff from us at 1Gbit/sec or more all the time anyway.
Oct. 12th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC)
err, 1 megabyte/second each.
Oct. 12th, 2006 03:42 pm (UTC)
It's so. very. shiny. I bet that cost more than $20.
Oct. 12th, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)
Wow, that looks like a MechE's nightmare to design. I expect it works, which is impressive. Maintaining good thermal coupling to multiple devices which aren't all the same height is very difficult, I'm told.

One of our projects is a conduction-cooled board. I need to get photos of it in the environmental test chamber with the icicles hanging off it...
Oct. 18th, 2006 09:57 pm (UTC)
It does work. As usual with this company, what DOESN'T work is all related to software. Nearly always with how the software programs the TCAM which does the in-hardware forwarding of packets.
( 5 comments — Comment )



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