It's been a long time since I posted, so I thought I'd share some of my more recent adventures in the world of routing.
We'll start with Hauwei. They are easier to pick on.
I unfortunately have had the privilege to work on a Hauwei router recently, as well as a fleet of their install engineers. I kid you not, but I actually had this told to me, "The Hauwei guys have made changes to the Cisco 7600, but they don't know the command to save the configuration." ???? Their understanding of their own software is limited, and their ability to understand basic routing concepts leaves much to be desired for. I actually had to explain to them that to route between all their different OSPF areas, they needed to tie them together with an area 0. Finally, I swear that they took every command in the Cisco IOS tree, looked it up in a thesaurus and found a synonym to use. exit = quit, show = display, etc. It's absolutely annoying.
I've also had the privilege of learning and working on Alcatel for a sister company. They improperly engineered the initial network, performing a perfect bait and switch. "Sorry, we can't do layer-2 only with ERPS. We'll need to do this with MPLS." Then their expanded module cards on the 7210-M had a little issue that caused the software to lose connection to the hardware when 4x10GE are in the system. The side effect of this is that the hardware stays up, some protocols seem to work, but traffic fails to forward. This equates to, "Yes, the LSP can still come through here, but we'll discard all the packets." So, after spending many hours asking the right questions about their layer-2 setup, that is thrown out the window and some crappy layout with MPLS is used. Given MPLS, there's no reason to maintain a ring topology, so we upgraded critical nodes to 7450 and created an inner bypass ring on the DWDM. Then we find the other problems.
Fast Re-Route has been out since around 2004? Juniper has had support for it since it was in early draft stage. Alcatel still does not support the entire RFC. From the 7210 up to the 7750, there is NO admin group support for FRR. Why? It makes no sense. Admin Groups (affinity for Cisco guys, though Cisco implementation is horrid) are supported for primary and secondary LSPs. It's part of their OSPF and CSPF implementations. The only thing missing is the configuration statement to use it!
Now, I realize the 7210-M is a small non-redundant pizza box, but it's perfect for those small towns that just cannot cost justify using a 7450 or even a 7705. However, for some strange reason, Alcatel decided not to implement SRLG on the 7210-M. It's in their main codebase, but wasn't implemented on this small box.
Why are these features important? Well, either one can be used in a shared risk deployment on a DWDM ring to make sure FRR paths are built going the correct direction. This is especially noticeable when you have an inner long distance ring and then pick up small towns along the DWDM ring as legs between the inner ring nodes. When there's a fiber cut (or DWDM node failure), it will effect the leg as well as the inner bypass route. However, without admin groups for FRR or SRLG, there is no way to tell the nodes to build FRR paths the correct way.
Well, this isn't completely true. Alcatel at least supports manual bypass tunnels. So if you don't mind using the inefficient facility method, you can configure a bunch of manual bypasses as a workaround. It's more management, more things that can fail, requires careful planning and verification, and facility backup mechanisms are less efficient than one-to-one.
Did I mention that Alcatel engineers weren't the ones who noticed the problem? How about the fact that it took many hours and conference calls to explain the problem. Then once they understood the problem somewhat, I had to research, test, verify, and report the only available mechanisms to fix the problem and why their software fails.
So to wrap up, Hauwei and Alcatel support is worse than Cisco, their configurations are more complicated than they should be, and their feature sets are sorely lacking.
For the record, despite all the things I have to wait on Juniper to complete in software (features they already have roadmapped), I have found better support, features, and capabilities in the Juniper hardware than any of the other vendors I've played with (the aforementioned plus lots of Cisco and some Brocade/Foundry).
I'll conclude this with my current top 3 favorite Juniper commands:
show | compare rollback.?
show | match <regex> | display set