Cisco buffs up router performance, Internet management

Cisco Systems this week unveiled products designed to boost the performance of its routers and enhance the management of Cisco-built networks.

The company rolled out a new processor for its 7200 series router that more than doubles the processing power of the line and yields performance of up to 1 million packet/sec. Cisco also announced three software modules for its Internet operations support system (OSS) suite designed to enable service providers to activate services faster, and enhance traffic monitoring and accounting.

The new processing engine for the 7200 series is called the Network Processing Engine G1 (NPE-G1). It is a 700MHz Broadcom Corp. BCM1250 processor module that slips into the CPU slot of the 7200, and can be installed in the field as an incremental upgrade to the 7200 VXR chassis.

The NPE-G1 provides a 140 percent increase in processing power over the previous generation NPE-400. The horsepower of the NPE-G1 will enable service providers to deploy the 7200 for high-performance security services, bandwidth and traffic management, converged voice, video and data, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and IPv6 applications, Cisco claims.

The NPE-G1 also doubles the amount of dynamic random access memory on the 7200, up to 1 gigabyte. This enables the 7200 to support more routing tables and access control lists, among other features.

The NPE-G1 also offers three built-in 10/100/1000M bit/sec Ethernet ports for LAN connectivity. The integral, dedicated LAN ports frees up other ports on the 7200 for bandwidth.

LAN ports are copper RJ-45 and fiber Gigabit Interface Converters, the latter specifically for gigabit connectivity.

Separately, Cisco also announced new software support for hardware-accelerated features on its 7300 series routers, such as MPLS, MPLS VPNs, and Network Address Translation (NAT). These enhancements help position the router as an option for remote service provider point-of-presence applications, Cisco says, where MPLS, VPN and NAT services are initiated at points closest to the enterprise customer.

The NPE-G1 is currently available and costs US$15,000. The new software features for the 7300 series router are currently available.

For management, Cisco rolled out three domain managers for its Internet OSS software application suite: Mobile Wireless Center, Broadband Access Center and Packet Telephony Center. They provide element and service level management, specifically focusing on provisioning, service-level monitoring and service-level accounting functions.

The domain managers can also be used as standalone applications or as subsystems enabling independent software vendors, systems integrators or customers to integrate their applications and networks into existing OSS infrastructures, Cisco says.

The Mobile Wireless Center provides specific tools and services to support mobile wireless deployment, such as flow-through provisioning of Radio Access Network transport networks built on Cisco hardware. The Broadband Access Center provides a single management system for cable, DSL, T1, broadband aggregation and VoIP over Ethernet access technologies.

The Packet Telephony Center provides voice network management to help accelerate packet-voice service deployment, Cisco says. It supports call agents and gateway devices, automated management, and allows VoIP networks to co-exist with the public switched telephone network, Cisco says.

The new domain managers are available now. Pricing depends on number of units -- customer premise equipment, routers, switches, subscribers or broadband access lines -- and ranges from $25,000 into the millions of dollars.

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