Nokia unveils IP routing silicon for post-pandemic age

21 September 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Nokia has unveiled the fifth generation of its IP routing silicon, adding encryption capabilities and allowing service providers to scale network capacity while delivering higher speed IP services.

Nokia said FP5 (pictured) is the industry’s first high performance routing silicon delivering integrated line rate encryption for L2, L2.5 and L3 network services at speeds up to 1.6Tbps. Further, the fully programmable network processor is the first to bring 800GE routing interfaces for service provider applications to market while retaining the agility to adapt to new applications.

Federico Guillén, Nokia's president of network infrastructure said: “Of all the things that are surprising about human beings, perhaps the most surprising is our ability to be surprised. Our customers require their networks to be robust, agile and adaptable enough to handle everything life throws at them – from disruptive security threats to a global pandemic.

"FP5 is a significant step forward in performance, security and efficiency and – in combination with our software excellence and investment in network automation and tools – it opens the next chapter in Nokia’s long-standing leadership in IP networking and IP silicon innovation.”

Allowing service providers to better scale network capacity in response to demand, Nokia service router platforms are the first to support high-density 800GE and 1.6 Tb/s clear channel routing interfaces for applications including mobile transport, IP core, peering, BNG and provider edge.

New FP5-based line cards will support 14.4 Tb/s – or 19.2 Tb/s with Nokia’s intelligent aggregation capability. A new series of fixed form factor 7750 Service Router-1 platforms enable the benefits of FP5 to also be realised in smaller network locations.

Additional features include enhanced energy efficiency. FP5 network processors drive down power consumption per bit by 75% – and FP5 is backwards compatible with FP4.

However, the main draw is the embedded security. While FP4 tackled volumetric DDoS defense with router-based detection and mitigation, FP5 brings an additional layer of network protection with the introduction of ANYsec, a new line rate, flow-based encryption capability integrated directly into the chipset.

Nokia said ANYsec supports the delivery of secure IP services including MPLS and segment routing, on-demand and at scale, so "service providers can now ensure the integrity and confidentiality of all data flowing through their networks".

Receiving a warm welcome from across the industry, the launch was welcomed by BT, Orange and NTT DOCOMO.

BT chief architect and MD Neil McRae said: "We are pleased to see that with FP5, Nokia continues to innovate to ensure IP networks have the scale, flexibility and features to help us stay ahead of escalating demand from our residential, mobile and business customers. In particular, we are very happy to see the focus on power optimization as we grow our network, with both BT and Nokia committing to significant reduction in carbon footprint."

Hiroyuki Oto, SVP and GM of core network development department, NTT DOCOMO, INC., added: “Our network needs to continue to evolve to meet the demands from our consumers, communities, and businesses. With Nokia’s latest generation of silicon innovation and their careful attention to ensuring investment protection with the flexibility to adapt to new requirements, we believe Nokia is delivering the right foundation to ensure IP networks can efficiently scale and transform to stay ahead of ever shifting market demands.”

Launching such a chip during an unprecedented global crunch in silicon supply chains could be seen as a challenge. However, Heidi Adams, head of IP/optical product marketing said that was unlikely to be an issue.

She said: "This is a silicon that Nokia designed, so the supply we are looking to see here would be in terms of the manufacturing as opposed to general production, which you may have on merchant-based silicon. It's a slightly different aspect,

"The other thing too is that in terms of availability of those systems when we start shipping it will be in the first half of 2022 and, looking at the industry, there is an expectation and hope that some of these supply challenges start to be mitigated as we get into next year. We're not anticipating that will be a significant issue."