India’s indigenous ‘core’ router: How fast is it?

Nivetti’s 2.4Tbps router is a significant leap for Made-in-India—from gigabit- to terabits-class—critical for enterprise networking infrastructure.

VoicenData Bureau
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Nivetti’s 2.4Tbps router is a significant leap for Made-in-India—from gigabit- to terabits-class—critical for enterprise networking infrastructure.


On 9 March, Union Communications and Electronics & IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw unveiled India’s ‘fastest router’. Jointly developed by Bengaluru-based electronics development firm Nivetti Systems, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), it is a ‘core’ router. What this means is that it will not be used in home networks but as a crucial component of large networking infrastructure. The development is being seen as yet another success of India’s advancements in domestic electronics equipment manufacturing and research.

What is the router, and why is it important?

A ‘core’ router plays a critical role in networking infrastructure by supporting the highest possible network bandwidth across all ports.


Such routers are primarily utilised in large-scale networking systems, which serve as the backbone for modern-day enterprises, defence systems, government Intranets, and more. It is essential to differentiate these devices from the Wi-Fi routers commonly found in homes, as they provide single-point network routing to deliver Internet services suitable for household demands, which are considerably lower than those of enterprise-grade systems.

Core routers are used in large-scale networking systems, which serve as the backbone for enterprises, defence systems, and government Intranets.

The significance of such a system, and thus the hype surrounding it, lies in the fact that, until now, core routers were predominantly imported from other countries. In India, notable suppliers of core routers have included China’s Huawei and ZTE, as well as global firms like Cisco, Ericsson, and Nokia.


“The indigenously developed router by Nivetti is important from India’s security and self-reliance perspective and the C-DOT is fully backing it to further the country’s Make-in-India capabilities in critical hardware and equipment sector, as well as in fostering innovation,” Dr Rajkumar Upadhyay, CEO of C-DOT said adding that the government plans to further invest in such initiatives.

The Nivetti-DoT-CDOT router boasts the capability of supporting a gross network bandwidth of 2.4 terabits per second (Tbps), making it India’s fastest to date. This achievement is particularly noteworthy because, until now, local networking equipment manufacturers have primarily produced gigabit-class core routers, which are inadequate to meet the high-speed network demands of the modern enterprise 5G network era.

This indigenous router operates on what the company claims to be India’s first and only indigenous enterprise operating system for such devices—NiOS by Nivetti. Additionally, it supports a protocol known as Internet Protocol/Multi-Protocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS), a technique for routing data through various network nodes using ‘labels’ instead of IP addresses. The advantage of this lies in simplifying the process of adding multiple sites to a network, making IP/MPLS systems more preferable in network cores.


What Vaishnaw said, and why?

Announcing the launch of the router, Vaishnaw emphasised its significance, stating, “Networking is key to the entire Digital India effort. And within networking, routers, especially core routers like this one, are crucial. So, I am glad that such complex equipment has been designed in India, developed in India, and made in India.”

Vaishnaw’s statement comes at a time when geopolitical tensions have heightened the focus on core networking infrastructure, particularly concerning global reliance on China for such technologies. Since 2016, the United States has raised significant concerns regarding networking infrastructure built by Huawei and ZTE, alleging backdoors that could potentially allow China to intercept and snoop data across various networks. Both the Chinese government and the companies involved have consistently denied these allegations.


Nivetti’s router supports Internet Protocol/Multi-Protocol Label Switching for routing data through network nodes using ‘labels’ instead of IP addresses.

However, China’s strained relations with India have also dwindled in the meantime, adding to the concerns about potential data espionage across the border. Consequently, the central government’s introduction of production-linked incentives (PLIs) for IT hardware, alongside support from entities like C-DOT and DoT, has facilitated the development of a terabit-class core router domestically in India.

Going by the announcement made during the launch, the router’s operating system (OS) has undergone security evaluations by the Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO’s Scientific Analysis Group (DRDO-SAG). Furthermore, it has reportedly garnered interest from various sectors, including power grid operators, DRDO itself, the Indian Navy, and several unnamed private enterprises. However, the authenticity of these claims could not be independently verified by Voice&Data.



Nevertheless, the necessity for such infrastructure development in India has been long acknowledged due to the aforementioned factors. While it is improbable that the terabit-class IP/MPLS router developed by Nivetti and government entities is entirely indigenous—given the likelihood of imported components—their collaborative effort marks a significant step towards domesticating the production of advanced networking hardware.

In the future, this could potentially attract global firms such as Cisco, Ericsson, and Nokia to consider designing and manufacturing their advanced networking hardware in India, among other trusted locations.


Is this truly the fastest core router?

Not exactly. Several other core routers offer faster networking bandwidth. For instance, the Ericsson SSR 8000 smart systems core router, introduced in April of last year, boasts a rated bandwidth of 16Tbps. Similarly, Cisco’s 8000-series core routers support up to 25.6Tbps network bandwidth without high-bandwidth memory and 12.8Tbps with HBM support.

However, these aforementioned routers represent the cutting edge and are the latest of their kind. This would still position the Nivetti IP/MPLS router as one of the fastest in its category.

The router’s operating system has undergone security evaluations by the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Scientific Analysis Group.

Looking ahead, Vaishnaw’s statement implies potential policy changes aimed at further promoting indigenous tech development for such hardware. “We will work on policy measures that remove any roadblocks innovators face in their journey to create. Having a strong base in software, and design capabilities put us right at the take-off point to become a major product nation of the world. We have been a good service-oriented nation, which will continue to grow. In parallel, we will make efforts to be a product-manufacturing nation. That is the focus,” the minister said.

He emphasised the importance of core routers in the context of the Digital India initiative, noting, “Within networking, a core router like this is very important.” He also highlighted the evolving nature of manufacturing processes, noting that manufacturing was no longer a mechanical process. “Today, it involves significant software, innovation, and intellectual input in hardware,” he added.

By Vernika Awal