A look at the QCT QuantaMesh networking booth at Computex 2016

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QCT QuantaMesh T3042-P05 HA pair
QCT QuantaMesh T3042-P05 HA pair

We were able to stop by the QCT Networking booth at Computex 2016 to check out the new and exciting line-up they had on display. Quanta makes switches that are popular in the SDN space. This can include those using commercially available software such as Cumulus Linux as well as for hyper-scale customers (e.g. Amazon and Microsoft) who use QCT switches with their customized software. We reviewed the QCT QuantaMesh T1048-LY4A and QCT QuantaMesh T3048-LY9 with a QCT QuantaMesh T3048-LY8 review forthcoming shortly. We are working to get hands-on time with some of the switches we saw but here is an overview of a few items from Computex 2016 that caught our attention.

New 1GbE Switch

One feature we really wish our lab’s QCT T1048-LY4A had was more SFP+ ports. The new QCT QuantaMesh T1048-LB9E answers this need with 8 SFP+ 10Gb Ethernet ports onboard. If we were buying this year, there is a good chance this is what we would purchase as a 1GbE switch.

QCT QuantaMesh T1048-LB9E L2 L3 gigabit Ethernet
QCT QuantaMesh T1048-LB9E L2 L3 gigabit Ethernet

The clear focus of the QCT QuantaMesh booth was at a much higher-end of the networking spectrum.

10GbE Networking Updates

The QCT QuantaMesh T3048-LY9A is an update to the T3048-LY9 we reviewed servicing the 48 port 10Gbase-T market. One feature we immediately noticed is that the new switch has all six QSFP+ 40GbE ports on the front of the chassis. Our T3048-LY9 has two on the rear of the chassis that we wish were located front side.

QCT QuantaMesh T3048-LY9A
QCT QuantaMesh T3048-LY9A

QCT also has a new half-width design called the QuantaMesh T3042-P05. These switches feature 24x 10GbE SFP+ ports and 2x 40GbE QSFP+ ports. They are designed to be placed in a rack creating a HA pair of switches in only 1U.

QCT QuantaMesh T3042-P05 HA pair
QCT QuantaMesh T3042-P05 HA pair

This is an innovative design that we have seen many companies embrace as it works well for saving space.

40-100GbE Networking

The real story of the show was the higher-end 40GbE and 100GbE gear. QCT had the QuantaMesh T5032-LY6 on display. In the last month we have added several servers that combined for 18x 40GbE ports in our lab. These are the switches that we likely should have purchased in September.

QCT QuantaMesh T5032-LY6
QCT QuantaMesh T5032-LY6

The QCT QuantaMesh T4048-IX2 is a new generation of QCT switches that supports 100GbE, 50GbE and 25GbE networking along with traditional 10GbE/40GbE from the previous generations.  There are a total of 48x SFP28 ports that support up to 25GbE. The 8x QSFP28 ports support up to 100GbE. On the rear of the unit there are standard features like a serial console port, out-of-band management port and USB port. From what we understand, this is based on the Broadcom Tomahawk family silicon.

QCT QuantaMesh T4048-IX2
QCT QuantaMesh T4048-IX2

Moving to the higher-end 1U switch, the QCT QuantaMesh T7032-IX1 is a 32 port 100GbE switch. Each of the QSFP28 ports can support break out cables and can support 25/ 50/ 100GbE as well as legacy 10/ 40GbE.

QCT QuantaMesh T7032-IX1 front
QCT QuantaMesh T7032-IX1 front

One unique feature of this switch was the power configuration. The redundant PSUs are at the rear of the chassis but there are power redirect cables to allow the front mount power ports to be used instead. With front mounted power, all of the power and connectivity (network and OOB management/ console/ USB ports) are located on the front face of the chassis making cabling easy for many scenarios.

QCT QuantaMesh T7032-IX1 rear
QCT QuantaMesh T7032-IX1 rear

QCT also featured the QuantaMesh T7032-IX1 in their rack scale architecture rack they had on display. As you can see, QCT also manufacturers many of the systems that can be paired with the T7032-IX1 which we will highlight in another piece on our booth visit.

QCT QuantaMesh T7032-IX1 in QCT Rack Scale Architecture
QCT QuantaMesh T7032-IX1 in QCT Rack Scale Architecture

Overall, the new switch line is very impressive. Our three lab switches have worked extremely well for us over the past nine months and we hope to get some hands on time with QCT’s new switches soon.

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