Nokia Focuses on Security, Energy Saving with FP5 Processor

Article By : John Walko

Nokia's FP5 will support high-density 800GE routing interfaces with a claimed 75% reduction in power consumption and the latest embedded line rate, flow-based encryption capabilities.

Nokia has updated its range of silicon devices for routers with the emphasis very much on energy efficiency, network security and, of course, performance.

The FP5, the long-awaited successor to the FP4 routing silicon family, will support for high density 800GE routing interfaces with a claimed 75% reduction in power consumption and the latest embedded line rate, flow-based encryption capabilities.

The original FP series was unveiled nearly 20 years ago at Alcatel, offering an in-house solution to network routing.  The last in the range, the FP4, launched in 2017, is a 2.4Tbit/s processor, at the time the fastest in the market.

It has served the company, and the router segment, well, with a recent report from consultancy Dell’Oro ranking the Finnish group the third largest for service provider routers, with a 15% share of the global market over the past six months, only behind market leader Cisco and Huawei.

Line cards deploying the FP5 will support 14.4Tbit/s capabilities, which transforms to 19.2Tbit/s with Nokia’s aggregation functionality. The company says the FP5 will offer full backward compatibility with the FP4, and be fully integrated into the latest version of the company’s range of Service Operating System (SR OS). Its aligned and hardware and software evolution strategy means “all existing features are supported from day one on the new hardware”, offering investment protection for operators.

According to Heidi Adams, Nokia’s head of IP Optical Marketing, the capability to reduce power consumption down to just 0.1 watts per gig, down from 0.4 watts for the FP4, was achieved through a combination of factors, including shifting to a 7nm design (down from 16nm on the FP4) and consolidating the number of chips to be able to reduce the size of the processor significantly.

On the security side, Nokia has incorporated directly into the chipset the ‘ANYsec’ network protection system, an in-house conceived innovation. Built on MACsec encryption, which is becoming widely used in the industry, Nokia maintains its flow-based encryption capability supports the delivery of secure IP services such as MPLS and segment routing, on-demand and at scale without impacting either the power efficiency or the performance.

Nokia says it expects routing platforms based on the latest processor to be shipping from the first half of next year. The company stresses operators can mix and match earlier generation FP4 with FP5 processors, without the need to replace supporting gear such as chassis and fans.

The company’s official release includes strong endorsements from some of these existing and potential customers. For instance, Neil McRae, managing director and chief architect at BT said, “In the past 18 months, our lives have been turned upside down, and our reliance on networks has been dramatically increased and reliability for customers is crucially important. With security being ever more important for our customers, seeing Nokia’s approach to building more security features into the platform is fantastic.”

And Christian Gacon, VP of Broadband Networks at Orange France, added, “Innovations such as Nokia’s FP5 silicon will enable us to balance capacity, maintainability and security to deliver the best customer experience.”

Yet, as Dell’Oro Group’s analysis of the Service Provider Router and Switch market published earlier this month noted, global demand for the systems declined with a low single-digit revenue decrease in the second quarter of this year, the contraction being explained as a consequence of lower demand in China. This, the analysts suggest, was only partly offset by growth in all other regions, including Europe. The impact in China during the second quarter was down to rollouts of 5G transport networks there slowing, but “we think this was a temporary situation, and a strong rebound is likely in the second half of the year,” commented Shin Umeda, VP of Dell’Oro Group.


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