Nokia slashes power usage 75% with new FP5 routing silicon

Nokia refreshed its in-house routing silicon for the first time since 2017, significantly increasing capacity, slashing power consumption and integrating encryption to boost security in its new FP5 chip.

The FP5 features a 4.8 Tbps network processor, doubling the 2.4 Tbps available on the FP4, and is the first chip in Nokia’s lineup to support 800-gig Ethernet routing interfaces. Heidi Adams, Nokia’s head of IP and Optical product marketing, told Fierce the silicon also comes with a built-in intelligent aggregation capability which can be switched on to further increase capacity.

“We’ve actually put some unique capabilities in the chipsets and in our platforms that actually enable us to bring in more traffic…and we can do it without dropping any packets or having any impact to service,” she said. By activating intelligent aggregation, an operator can take a system with 172.8 Tbps available port speed, for instance, and boost that almost 30% to 230.4 Tbps, Adams explained.

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Other features include better network security delivered via integrated line rate encryption and improved power efficiency. On the latter front, Adams noted the FP5 performs at 0.1 Watts per gigabit compared to 0.4 Watts per gigabit in the FP4. She acknowledged Nokia’s competitors tout similar power efficiency metrics, but argued “they’re doing that just really bare bones…as soon as you turn on services, as soon as you turn on multiple flows or start doing any security features on top of that their power consumption goes up.” By contrast, Nokia is able to achieve that level off efficiency “with full services turned on,” she said.

Adams said the FP5 can be used to upgrade either of the larger 7750 Service Router (SR)-7s and -14s systems Nokia introduced alongside the FP4 in 2017. It is also compatible with three new, smaller router systems – the 7750 SR-1, -1se or -2se – the company is rolling out.

Orange France and NTT Docomo are among a handful of tier-1 operators which have already signed on to use the FP5 in their networks. Adams said the silicon will be ready for trials toward the end of this year and will begin shipping in the first half of 2022.

Shin Umeda, VP at market research firm Dell’Oro Group, told Fierce the new silicon “won’t have an immediate effect on Nokia’s market position, but it provides a roadmap to build on the momentum created by the previous generation FP4 chipset. The FP5 specifications indicate that Nokia remains ahead of their competitors in the development of edge router silicon.”

He added “while the announcement is primarily for new silicon, the software and security functionality enabled in the overall systems is equally important. The software is a differentiator for IP service delivery and network performance, and integrated security functions are increasingly important.”