18 April, 2024


Networks & Internet Solutions

What is white box switch?

white box networking

With the development of cloud technology, our requirements for network equipment are simple, flexible, reliable. Meantime, open networking is changing the landscape of the data centers and campus networks by empowering users more flexibility and control with simpler deployment. This is why the increasingly largest data centers nowadays embrace the white box switches. But what is a white box switch? How it different from traditional switch,here we can solve your questions.

What is white box switch?

The white box switch (also named white label switch or whitebox hardware, britebox switch) is a network switch without a well-known brand name which assembled from standardized commodity parts.

White box switches mostly have 3 characters:

  • Building on commodity hardware,
  • Using ASICs from established vendors
  • Running open networking operating system

White box switches may pre-installed with open-source software, but it’s more often sold as bare metal hardware.

What’s The Difference Between The “Whitebox Switch” And The Traditional “Black Box” Switch?

The traditional “BlackBox” switch architecture is the tight bonding of software and hardware.

ASIC chips and SDKs are provided from chip vendors, device manufacturers perform secondary development on this basis to adapt to their own network operating systems, and various configurations are built into the operating system to realize specific network features.


Since the R&D of hardware and software is done by the device manufacturer, the black box architecture makes the system completely closed.

First of all, this closed BlackBox architecture cannot adapt to the flexibility requirements of rapid development and deployment of new functions.

Even if a centralized controller is provided, it only offers a simple graphical management interface of network maintenance and does not closely integrate with the application and operation requirements in the cloud, which makes operation and maintenance even more complicated. 

Secondly, proprietary networking operating systems can only run on private hardware platforms, users cannot enjoy the cost dividends brought about by standardized open hardware, resulting in failure to reduce TCO.In SDN mode, SDN controllers and switch hardware & software have formed deeper binding due to the integrated purchase of traditional network equipment software & hardware, which has also resulted in high costs.

In addition, the integration of software and hardware also exposes users to the risk of being locked in by the underlying network provider.


In all , white box switches hold in sharp contrast to traditional switches which usually come from a single vendor, such as Cisco, Juniper or Huawei who runs a proprietary networking operating system which often charge a premium for their switches, almost twice or third as much as similar performance britebox switch.

How Does White-box Networking Work?

“We have been thinking about how to use open hardware and open software and operating systems to help users solve various problems encountered by the network infrastructure,” said Ricardo Chen, who is the CEO of Asterfusion Data technologies which is a white box networking startup company for 5 years.“The white-box switch architecture adopts an open-source system, using standardized chips, an open operating system, and a diversified application ecosystem, just like the Android platform on the mobile phone has richer and more creative ecological support. We also hope to make a white box switch product that is as open as the Android platform in order to meet the rigid needs of users to reduce networking costs and seamlessly integrate the network into computing and storage. To satisfy the new requirements for cloud application innovation, to enhance operation & maintenance efficiency on the open network architecture .”

white box networking

In the white box networking mode, software and hardware are disaggregated, network hardware is generalized and standardized, and software functions are customized.

It allows users to purchase hardware from hardware vendors, and then select their preferred network operating system (NOS) from software vendors,leaving users flexibly to choose the switch that best satisfied each particular requirements. It provides a viable alternative, and its open platform simplifies network operations and improves performance, while significantly reducing costs.

White box switch (networking )bring a number of significant advantages for data centers and enterprise networks as following :

  • Simplicity
  • Flexibility
  • Reliability
  • Scalability
  • Automation
  • Cost-effective
  • High performance

Who is Asterfusion and what they can do?

Asterfusion delivers one -stop open networking solution for 10G/25/100G/400G white box switches and enterprise SONIC distribution based operating system for next generation data centers and campus and service providers.

The core members of Asterfusion are high position people from Cisco and Huawei with decades of rich experience on route and switch development . Now we own a 180 staff team in China and over 80% are R&D personnel.

hardware switches

Asterfusion has a thorough understanding of the needs of the industry,the capability to develop and design our own hardware switches and ONOS , the ability to make continuous contributions in major open source communities and ecosystems and the great mission to re-engineer the cloud networks with whitebox networking .

hardware switches

Asterfusion produces and designs our own hardware , have over 120-software engineer team and 20-hardware engineer team


Asterfusion’s hardware factory in Suzhou,China

asterfusion China
asterfusion hardware

By combining its open hardware and software solutions together, Asterfusion provides open source, dissagregation, programmability, cloud native one-stop solution to enterprise, data center and service providers.

asterfusion open network


Asterfusion believes from traditional vendor lock-in networks into today’s software and hardware disaggregation is an inevitable trend of networking industry.

Let us embrace whitebox networking with Asterfusion