Ericsson subsidiary Redback Networks has introduced a line of Carrier Ethernet switches intended for fixed and mobile networks convergence.

Redback is introducing the SM 480, a switch targeted at what analysts estimate is a $4.7 billion (£2.4 billion) plus metro Ethernet market. More specifically, the SM 480 is going up against Alcatel-Lucent's 7450 Ethernet Services Switch, which has enjoyed recent success in IPTV and other deployments.

The switch will be the first in a line of Carrier Ethernet switches from Redback and Ericsson with future terabit switching capacity over time.

The SM 480 is a 12-slot chassis capable of supporting 48 10 Gbit Ethernet ports. A range of Ethernet modules are available to provide configurations for access edge through metro core. They include:

- 10 port 1G Ethernet
- 20 port 1G Ethernet
- 1 port 10G Ethernet
- 4 port 10G Ethernet
- 60 port Fast Ethernet and 2 port Gbit Ethernet

Future configurations will include chassis with over 1 terabit of throughput, Redback says.

Software features include Layer 2 VPNs, five levels of hierarchical QoS, Layer 2 subscriber management, and support for 256,000 virtual LANs, 1.5 million MAC addresses and 8,000 VPLS instances. The switch software also supports sub-50ms link and node failure protection via Fast Reroute and latency performance monitoring for video, voice and data services.

In addition, the SM 480 supports in-service software upgrades as does the entire line of Redback SmartEdge routers and switches. This allows carriers to upgrade the operating system for broadband routers and switches without taking them out of service.

The SM series is designed to unify networks for fixed and mobile carriers at a lower price point than Redback's SmartEdge routers. Fixed and mobile networks are migrating from TDM transport and services to Ethernet and as they do most communications services will be unified over time, Redback says.

Indeed, Redback believes the future of IP networks will be one ubiquitous broadband subscription, one telephone number and one TV service where services can roam over any fixed or mobile network, like a cell phone. The SM 480 is intended for metro Ethernet aggregation and transport of such networks to backhaul voice, video and data from fixed and wireless environments.

The SM 480 will be available in the third quarter.

Redback did not disclose pricing but said it would be competitive with Alcatel-Lucent's 7450 switch.