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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Carrier Ethernet Switch Router: Big ticket Technology Transfer from IITB

The biggest technology transfer from IITB is 
for Carrier Ethernet Switch Router licensed to ECIL, Hyderabad.

A first hand account of this technology development is narrated by innovator Prof Ashwin Gumaste.
 .. we proposed the framework of Omnipresent Ethernet (OE for short), in 2009. The conceptual idea behind OE was to collapse multiple networking layers into a single layer, be backward compatible with existing technologies, make a strong impact on CAPEX and OPEX, and be able to support carrier-class services that generate revenue (essentially be deterministic). In OE, we took advantage of existing patterns in the Internet connection graph and manipulated such interconnection to meet our goal of end-to-end carrier-class services on a single layer. We observed that irrespective of the physical topology, a network within the Internet could be abstracted to a tree shaped structure. Using this interconnection hierarchy, along with the well-known concept of binary routing and source routing, we were able to convert any network to a binary tree or graph by adding “dummy” nodes. 
To prove that OE worked, we published a post-deadline paper at OFC 2009, showcasing an OE experiment in the lab. This paper was very well accepted by academia and industry. The technology was first displayed in parts to the international audience through journal and conference articles that were used to vet the theoretical framework. Subsequently, prototypes were built using off-the-shelf equipment  to demonstrate the working of the technology. These were primarily coded by engineers at IIT Bombay. On successful demonstration of the prototypes, an effort was made to build our own PCB that could lead to a  series of commercial products. Three teams were formed that focused on the hardware, software, and the PCB. The hardware team was responsible for the RTL and ASICs, the software team for the network management system, and the PCB team for the PCBs, the testing, and mechanicals of the board. 5 versions of the hardware code exist – the final version, which has now become the backbone of the commercial router manufactured by ECIL, is close to 100,000 lines of RTL code.

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