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  1. #1
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    recommended equipment for DS3s and OC3s

    Hey all-
    I'm looking to buy some bandwidth which is available only via DS3 or OC3s. I've never had to buy bandwidth on a telco-type circuit before (I usually pick up an Ethernet handoff). I need recommendations as to what equipment I should be using to terminate the link.

    I'd strongly prefer Cisco equipment, as that's where my experience is. It needs to support BGP (not a full feed -- only plan to accept around 20k routes), and be able to take at least 100kpps (in real life, not just in specs). I'm open to discontinued equipment, as long as it's easy to buy a second or third unit as a spare, and the expected useful lifetime is still reasonably long.

    Specific part numbers for chassis and line cards would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    do you have a cisco 6500 already? you could get a flexwan card for it which holds the PA modules for the 7200 series which are available with DS3 and OC3 ports. Your other option is a 7200VXR but as I understand, those arent very good with high PPS.

  3. #3
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    Consider the Cisco a 7505 with an RSP8 or RSP16 with 256 MB ram for the router processor; a PA-T3 card for the DS3; on a Vip2-50 with 128 MB ram; and a FE-TX 100 mbps ethernet card.
    There are a lot of second party resellers out there -- check out NetworkHardware resell in Santa Barbara if you are looking for extra support / extra warranty albeit at a higher price.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddb
    do you have a cisco 6500 already? you could get a flexwan card for it which holds the PA modules for the 7200 series which are available with DS3 and OC3 ports. Your other option is a 7200VXR but as I understand, those arent very good with high PPS.
    Nope, no 6500. That would be ideal, but it's outside of my price range. What NPE/RAM would you recommend for my requirements?
    Last edited by unavaca; 09-10-2006 at 04:53 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Nugent
    Consider the Cisco a 7505 with an RSP8 or RSP16 with 256 MB ram for the router processor; a PA-T3 card for the DS3; on a Vip2-50 with 128 MB ram; and a FE-TX 100 mbps ethernet card.
    There are a lot of second party resellers out there -- check out NetworkHardware resell in Santa Barbara if you are looking for extra support / extra warranty albeit at a higher price.
    I can probably do without Smartnet on this type of thing -- I'd rather buy a second unit as a spare.

    How would you compare this solution to a 7200VXR?

    Would you use this for an OC3 circuit, or only a DS3? What's the proper line card for an OC3? I'm seeing all different kinds of OC3 cards -- not sure what's the right one for my needs.
    Last edited by unavaca; 09-10-2006 at 04:57 PM.

  6. #6
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    What's your L2 transport protocol from the carrier? Frame? ATM? HDLC?
    Eric Spaeth
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaethco
    What's your L2 transport protocol from the carrier? Frame? ATM? HDLC?
    Not a clue... Is this telco dependent? How would one know in advance?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by unavaca
    Not a clue... Is this telco dependent? How would one know in advance?
    It's service dependent, not necessarily telco dependent. You need to know what they're going to configure on the other side of the circuit and match that. This will have a direct impact on which router interface you need to buy.
    Eric Spaeth
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaethco
    It's service dependent, not necessarily telco dependent. You need to know what they're going to configure on the other side of the circuit and match that. This will have a direct impact on which router interface you need to buy.
    Okay. Are interfaces pretty much the same price, regardless of type? Is there a specific type I should prefer if asked?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by unavaca
    Okay. Are interfaces pretty much the same price, regardless of type? Is there a specific type I should prefer if asked?
    No -- interface price will vary by quite a bit depending on what you get. In general, ATM for DS3 or OC3 will be more expensive than Serial DS3 or Packet over SONET OC3 interfaces. Multimode fiber for OC3 is cheaper than single mode, but your carrier will likely not support multimode. Personally, I'd avoid ATM if at all possible.
    Eric Spaeth
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaethco
    No -- interface price will vary by quite a bit depending on what you get. In general, ATM for DS3 or OC3 will be more expensive than Serial DS3 or Packet over SONET OC3 interfaces. Multimode fiber for OC3 is cheaper than single mode, but your carrier will likely not support multimode. Personally, I'd avoid ATM if at all possible.
    Okay -- good to know!. Would Dennis' Cisco 7505 suggestion work reasonably well for both the DS3 and OC3 scenarios? Would an RSP4 fly, or is RSP8 really the way to go?

  12. #12
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    For your requirements, 7206 non-VXR would work just fine. NPE-150s will do 128MB of RAM, easily enough for a mere 20k routes. Don't waste your money on legacy 7500s unless you have space to burn and redundant RPs are a must.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tical
    For your requirements, 7206 non-VXR would work just fine. NPE-150s will do 128MB of RAM, easily enough for a mere 20k routes. Don't waste your money on legacy 7500s unless you have space to burn and redundant RPs are a must.
    Ah ha, excellent. Do the 7206 non-VXRs use CEF, or is it a software-based forwarding platform? Will the NPE-150 be able to handle my pps requirements? Thanks.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by unavaca
    Ah ha, excellent. Do the 7206 non-VXRs use CEF, or is it a software-based forwarding platform? Will the NPE-150 be able to handle my pps requirements? Thanks.
    It does use CEF, but CEF itself (contrary to popular belief) is still a software switching algorithm that can be *implemented* in hardware. On that particular platform it's implemented in the NPE (essentially, software forwarding). I'll probably spark a flamewar on the semantics, but I don't consider something to be hardware forwarding unless switching decisions are made *on the linecard* and not sent to the CPU, as is the case on all 7200s.

    As for whether it will handle 100kpps, the answer is probably yes, just not the way you're thinking of. 100kpps consisting of half push and half pull of normal looking traffic should be no sweat. But 100kpps of incoming DoS == death to your NPE. If that's the type of traffic handling you're after, step up to an NPE-300, or one of the VXR chassis with an NPE-400 if necessary. Alternatively, you could just get a Juniper M5 if it's budgetary. You'll never have to worry about upgrading anything on that platform to handle 100kpps any way you like it; set it and forget it.

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  15. #15
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    Likely to set off some discussion: IMHO a Cisco 7206 non-VXR with an NPE-150 will _NOT_ do
    at least 100kpps (in real life, not just in specs)
    >>OUTBOUND << especially if you are doing any type of access lists, and BGP.

    You propably (guessing here) want 100kpps outbound.

    IMHO I would never do a 7206 non-VXR with an NPE-150 for multiple OC3s with BGP; and access-lists. Yeah, I know, he didnt say he was going to need access-lists, but he did say real life.

    Spacewise a 7505 is only about 4 in. taller then a 7206

    There are a LOT of 7505s out there and it is a small price differential vs an equivalent 7206.

    The 7206 and the 7505 will handle the OC3 card, examples include PA-A3-OC3SMI, PA-A3-OC3SMM, etc As stated above, for OC3 avoid ATM and MM fiber.

    You probably wont do HDLC encapsulation unless your carrier is also running Cisco routers.

  16. #16
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    Yeah, BGP and ACLs are crucial in real-world operation

    I suppose I'll be looking at 7505 (will an RSP4 fly for this?) or a 7206 non-VXR with an NPE-300. The NPE-300 appears to be on-par with an RSP4...

    Sound about right?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Nugent
    Likely to set off some discussion: IMHO a Cisco 7206 non-VXR with an NPE-150 will _NOT_ do >>OUTBOUND << especially if you are doing any type of access lists, and BGP.

    You propably (guessing here) want 100kpps outbound.
    One would never reach 100kpps outbound in real life, unless you were packeting someone or had virus-infected drones on the inside of your network doing it for you.

    As for access lists, I'd agree, but not BGP. It makes no difference how you're populating routes into the FIB, whether static, OSPF, BGP, whatever.

    IMHO I would never do a 7206 non-VXR with an NPE-150 for multiple OC3s with BGP; and access-lists. Yeah, I know, he didnt say he was going to need access-lists, but he did say real life.
    I also don't recall anything about multiple OC3s in his requirements.

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  18. #18
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    Just for your info, ATT and Savvis will most likely handoff POS OC3/12 at Level3 Sunnyvale

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by tical
    I also don't recall anything about multiple OC3s in his requirements.
    Yup! At a most, a single OC3.

  20. #20
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    If you go with a 7206 get at LEAST an NPE-400. I would go with an NPE-G1.

    There is a pretty high overhead with a POS-OC3 card in this chassis. The POS to Ethernet conversion is done in the NPE and an OC3 at 125M or so will peg the CPU on an NPE-400. and will put an NPE-G1 at about 50% cpu. This is with 1 full BGP table, no ACLs, 4 route maps ONLY doing prepends and BGP bogon filtering set up.

    A 7505 would handle this MUCH better. I would go eith a 7505 and a VIP2-50 dedicated to the OC3 card. then another card for the ethernet ports. Possable the GigE card or another VIP2-50 with a PA-2FE dual ethernet card in it.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by vantage255
    If you go with a 7206 get at LEAST an NPE-400. I would go with an NPE-G1.

    There is a pretty high overhead with a POS-OC3 card in this chassis. The POS to Ethernet conversion is done in the NPE and an OC3 at 125M or so will peg the CPU on an NPE-400. and will put an NPE-G1 at about 50% cpu. This is with 1 full BGP table, no ACLs, 4 route maps ONLY doing prepends and BGP bogon filtering set up.

    A 7505 would handle this MUCH better. I would go eith a 7505 and a VIP2-50 dedicated to the OC3 card. then another card for the ethernet ports. Possable the GigE card or another VIP2-50 with a PA-2FE dual ethernet card in it.
    Well you could consider to use a external STM1 <-> GigE Converter like one from RAD. Then you need only a router with 2 Ethernetports (7206 with NPE300 will do). A NPE-G1 will also be a good but expensive solution, as the NPE-G1 Board itself is a router and uses the Chassis only for power supply :-) But the NPE-G1 Board is arount 8000 Euro while the STM1 <-> POS Converter is 1500-1700 Euro.

    Winfried

  22. #22
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    I have some experience with the RAD Direct Gig-E - OC-3 bridge/converters, since we used them prior to upgrading one of our transit circuits to OC-12. They work well for the most part, but they do increase latency a bit and you won't be able to get in and manage them in-band if you are pushing more than 50Mbps or so. Out of band management was a little spotty as well, but we rarely had to do anything with the box anyway. They did seem to handle high traffic levels well though - prior to our upgrade, we were maxing our OC-3 at times and I don't remember ever having to reboot or do anything to the RAD box on either end of the circuit - they just ran. I can't speak for the DS-3 -> fastE converters mentioned above since I've not used those, but the OC-3 -> Gig-E ones worked well for us. One other thing to consider is that you will likely need one of these boxes on each end of your circuit - you won't be able to take an OC-3 or DS-3 circuit directly from your provider's router and pipe it in to your RAD box - it has to go like this:

    Providers Router ---> Fast / Gig E ---> RAD Box ---> OC3/DS3 ---> RAD Box ---> Fast / Gig E ---> Your Router or Switch

    In any case, I know you stated that you would prefer a Cisco device, but have you looked into something like a Foundry Bigiron 4k or similar? There are OC-3 / OC-12 PoS modules available for them, and they are about 1/2 the cost of a 7200VXR. I don't believe they have the same overhead problems as the NPE-400/7200VXR's dealing with traffic on a PoS module. I'm not enough of a networking expert to say if that hardware would work for your situation, but it's always nice to look at some other options.
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  23. #23
    We run a Cisco 7301 for our Internet2 OC3 using a POS SFP for the fiber link.

  24. #24
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    The 7301 looked good, but it was 10-20k new, and there was no used market for it. I'm looking to spend up to $4k for a DS3 setup; ideally around $2k

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by unavaca
    The 7301 looked good, but it was 10-20k new, and there was no used market for it. I'm looking to spend up to $4k for a DS3 setup; ideally around $2k
    That's a bit unrealistic for Cisco hardware. The PA-T3+ interface card alone has an MSRP of $8500.
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  26. #26
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    You can probably do this for $4K, but there will be no support and you are looking at legacy equipt like a 7505 with an RSP8 (or 16) or an older 7206 or 7204 with an NPE-400. Anything less than the NPE-400 will not be enough for you.
    With a Sonet interface it is very easy to suck up CPU cycles on lower end Cisco gear....
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by spaethco
    That's a bit unrealistic for Cisco hardware. The PA-T3+ interface card alone has an MSRP of $8500.
    That's what I don't understand. *Why* do IP providers even bother offering DS3s when Ethernet-based gear is so much cheaper?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by unavaca
    That's what I don't understand. *Why* do IP providers even bother offering DS3s when Ethernet-based gear is so much cheaper?
    Outside of collocation facilities, Ethernet access is far from being universally available. Major telcos greatly prefer DS/OC circuits because they have a common model for troubleshooting and testing. (ie, circuit looping, pattern testing)
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  29. #29
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    Damnit, that's exceedingly annoying. This gear is an order of magnitude more expensive for a fraction of the performance.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tical
    One would never reach 100kpps outbound in real life, unless you were packeting someone or had virus-infected drones on the inside of your network doing it for you.
    Are you kidding? We have plenty of customers who push > 2000 pps per megabit of legitimate traffic (nameservers and gameservers often come to mind).

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by unavaca
    That's what I don't understand. *Why* do IP providers even bother offering DS3s when Ethernet-based gear is so much cheaper?
    If you are not in a DC that is "lit" by the provider, then a DS3 is about the cheapest form of transport for the provider to get the ckt to you. At this point it is cheaper for a lot of providers to run a DS3 than a T-1... An OC3 is much cheaper to transport than 100Mb ethernet. So from a Providers point of view, they will offer you the best deal on what is cheper for them.

    If you ask for an ethernet handoff, they will provide it, but it will cost you more.
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