A startup that counts Comcast and Cisco among its investors has announced a new router based on a new, long-hoped for class of ICs that fully integrate electronic and photonic elements on the same die.

Compass-EOS claims its new r10004 server is the world’s first commercial system to incorporate chip-to-chip direct silicon-to-photonics.

The company said the system is now shipping, and noted that several of the new routers are already up and running at customer installations.

It did not identify those customers by name, but said they include a Japanese voice, internet and cable provider that uses the routers at the termination points of its transpacific high capacity network, and a U.S.-based media and technology company that has deployed the r10004 for high-bandwidth connectivity between data centers of a global content delivery network (CDN).

Compass-EOS r10004Systems based on the combination of electronics and photonics on a single silicon chip promise far higher routing capacity, and simplified deployment, operation, and scaling of service provider networks.

A switching fabric and midplane are ordinarily necessary with traditional core routers; the r10004 replaces that a passive optical mesh that allows any two R10004s can communicate directly.

The result, the company says, is nearly unlimited bandwidth between line cards, with no dropped packets.

The company calculates that the  r10004 is three times smaller than comparable core routers and supports a mix of 100GbE and 10GbE ports. All the 10G interfaces of the r10004 line cards can be optionally configured to act either as: 10GE-LAN, 10GE-WAN, OC-192POS, STM64POS and 10GEOTN on a per-port basis.

Each r10004 can serve as a modular router building block for the deployment of scale-out routing, enabling software-defined networking (SDN) and other approaches such as network function virtualization (NFV).

The company calls its implementation of integrated electronics and photonics icPhotonics.  

“A major concern for service providers today is how to scale their networks while simplifying operations and improving utilization. We set out to address that concern by building a new breed of routers,” said Gadi Bahat, CEO of Compass-EOS. “Our revolutionary router design built on icPhotonics simplifies the network, brings about cost savings, moves service providers toward SDN and network virtualization, and allows for better utilization.”